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Sir Quixote 

of the Moors 





LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 
RIVERSIDE 



SIR QUIXOTE OF THE 
MOORS 



BUCKRAM SERIES. S. 

SIR QUIXOTE OF THE MOORS. 
A Scotch Romance. By John Buchan. 

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A quaint pastoral. By Tighe Hopkins. 

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HENRY HOLT & CO.. New York. 



SIR QUIXOTE 

OF THE MOORS 



BEING SOME ACCOUNT OF AN 

EPISODE IN THE LIFE OF 

THE SI EUR DE ROHAINE 



BY 

JOHN BUCHAN 



NEW YORK 

HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY 
1895 



/8'9S 



Copyright, 1895, 

BY 

HENRY HOLT & CO. 



THE MERSMON COMPANY PRESS, 
RAHWAY, N. I. 



TO 

GILBERT MURRAY 

WHATSOEVER IN THIS BOOK IS NOT 

WORTHLESS IS DEDICATED 

BY HIS FRIEND. 



PREFACE. 



The narrative, now for the 
first time presented to the world, 
was written by the Sieur de 
Rohaine to while away the 
time during the long period and 
painful captivity, borne with 
heroic resolution, which pre- 
ceded his death. He chose the 
English tongue, in which he 
was extraordinarily proficient, 
for two reasons : first, as an ex- 
ercise in the language ; second, 
because he desired to keep the 
passages here recorded from the 
knowledge of certain of his kins- 



VI 11 PREFACE. 

folk in France. Few changes 
have been made in his work. 
Now and then an EngHsh idiom 
has been substituted for a 
French; certain tortuous ex- 
pressions have been emended; 
and in general the portions in 
the Scots dialect have been 
rewritten, since the author's 
knowledge of this manner of 
speech seems scarcely to have 
been so great as he himself 
thought. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER ^''^^ 

I. On the High Moors, . i 

II. I Fare Badly Indoors, 27 

III. I Fare Badly Abroad, . 58 

IV, Of my Coming to Lin- 

dean, .... 76 

V. I Pledge my Word, . 100 

VI. Idle Days, . . • i34 
VII. A Daughter of Hero- 

DIAS, . . • -155 

VIII. How I Set the Signal, 174 

IX. I Commune with Myself, 202 

X. Of my Departure, . 222 



SIR QUIXOTE OF THE 
MOORS. 




CHAPTER I. 

ON THE HIGH MOORS. 

EFORE me stretched a 
black heath, over which 
the mist blew in gusts, 
and through whose midst the 
road crept like an adder. 
Great storm-marked hills 
flanked me on either side, 
and since I set out I had seen 
their harsh outline against a 
thick sky, until I longed for 
flat ground to rest my sight 
upon. The way was damp. 



2 SIR QUIXOTE. 

and the soft mountain gravel 
sank under my horse's feet ; 
and ever and anon my legs were 
splashed by the water from 
some pool which the rain had 
left. Shrill mountain birds flew 
around, and sent their cries 
through the cold air. Some- 
times the fog would lift for a 
moment from the face of the 
land and show me a hilltop or 
the leaden glimmer of a loch, 
but nothing more — no green 
field or homestead ; only a bar- 
ren and accursed desert. 

Neither horse nor man was 
in any spirit. My back ached, 
and I shivered in my sodden 
garments, while my eyes were 
dim from gazing on flying 
clouds. The poor beast stum- 



ON THE HIGH MOORS. 3 

bled often, for he had traveled 
far on little fodder, and a hill- 
road was a new thing in his ex- 
perience. Saladin I called him — 
for I had fancied that there was 
something Turkish about his 
black face, with the heavy tur- 
ban-like band above his fore- 
head — in my old fortunate days 
when I bought him. He was 
a fine horse of the Normandy 
breed, and had carried me on 
many a wild journey, though 
on none so forlorn as this. 

But to speak of myself. I 
am Jean de Rohaine, at your 
service ; Sieur de Rohaine in the 
province of Touraine — a gen- 
tleman, I trust, though one in a 
sorry plight. And how I came 
to be in the wild highlands of 



4 SIR QUIXOTE. 

the place called Galloway, in 
the bare kingdom of Scotland, I 
must haste to tell. In the old 
days, when I had lived as be- 
came my rank in my native 
land, I had met a Scot, — one 
Kennedy by name, — a great 
man in his own country, with 
whom I struck up an intimate 
friendship. He and I were as 
brothers, and he swore that if I 
came to visit him in his own 
home he would see to it that I 
should have the best. I thanked 
him at the time for his bidding, 
but thought little more of it. 

Now, by ill fortune, the time 
came when, what with gaming 
and pleasuring, I was a beg- 
gared man, and I bethought me 
of the Scot's offer I had liked 



ON THE HIGH MOORS. 5 

the man well, and I considered 
how it would be no ill thing to 
abide in that country till I 
should find some means of bet- 
tering my affairs. So I took ship 
and came to the town of Ayr, 
from which 'twas but a day's ride 
to the house of my friend. 'Twas 
in midsummer when I landed, 
and the place looked not so 
bare as I had feared, as I rode 
along between green meadows 
to my destination. There I 
found Quentin Kennedy, some- 
what grown old and more full 
in flesh than I remembered him 
in the past. He had been a 
tall, black-avised man when I 
first knew him ; now he was 
grizzled, — whether from hard 
living or the harshness of north- 



6 S//^ QUIXOTE. 

ern weather I know not, — and 
heavier than a man of action is 
wont to be. He greeted me 
most hospitably, putting his 
house at my bidding, and swear- 
ing that I should abide and 
keep him company and go no 
more back to the South. 

So for near a month I stayed 
there, and such a time of riot 
and hilarity I scarce remember. 
Mou Dieii, but the feasting and 
the sporting would have re- 
joiced the hearts of my com- 
rades of the Rue Margot ! I 
had already learned much of 
the Scots tongue at the college 
in Paris, where every second 
man hails from this land, and 
now I was soon perfect in it, 
speaking it all but as well as 



ON THE HIGH MOORS. 7 

my host. 'Tis a gift I have, 
for I well remember how, when 
I consorted for some months 
in the low countries with an 
Italian of Milan, I picked up a 
fair knowledge of his speech. 
So now I found mys*elf in the 
midst of men of spirit, and a 
rare life we led. The gentle- 
men of the place would come 
much about the house, and I 
promise you 'twas not seldom 
we saw the morning in as we 
sat at wine. There was, too, the 
greatest sport at coursing and 
hunting the deer in Kennedy's 
lands by the Water of Doon. 

Yet there was that I liked 
not among the fellows who 
came thither, nay, even in my 
friend himself. We have a 



8 SIR QUIXOTE. 

proverb in France that the devil 
when he spoils a German in the 
making turns him into a Scot, 
and for certain there was much 
boorishness among them, which 
to my mind sits ill on gentle- 
men. They would jest at one 
another till I thought that in a 
twinkling swords would be out, 
and lo ! I soon found that 'twas 
but done for sport, and with no 
evil intent. They were clown- 
ish in their understanding, little 
recking of the feelings of a man 
of honor, but quick to grow 
fierce on some tittle of provo- 
cation which another would 
scarce notice. Indeed, 'tis my 
belief that one of this nation is 
best in his youth, for Kennedy, 
whom I well remembered as a 



ON THE HIGH MOORS. 9 

man of courage and breeding, 
had grown grosser and more 
sottish with his years, till I was 
fain to ask where was my friend 
of the past. 

And now I come to that 
which brought on my departure 
and my misfortunes. 'Twas 
one night as I returned weary 
from riding after a stag in the 
haugh by the river, that Quen- 
tin cried hastily, as I entered, 
that now he had found some- 
thing worthy of my attention. 

** To-morrow, Jock," says he, 
" you will see sport. There 
has been some cursed commo- 
tion among the folk of the hills, 
and I am out the morrow to 
redd the marches. You shall 
have a troop of horse and ride 



lo SIR QUIXOTE. 

with me, and, God's death, we 
will have a taste of better 
work ! " 

I cried out that I could have 
asked 'for naught better, and, 
indeed, I was overjoyed that 
the hard drinking and idleness 
were at an end, and that the 
rigors of warfare lay before 
me. For I am a soldier by 
birth and by profession, and I 
love the jingle of steel and the 
rush of battle. 

So, on the morrow, I rode to 
the mountains with a score of 
dragoons behind me, glad and 
hopeful. Diable ! How shall 
I tell my disappointment? 
The first day I had seen all — 
and more than I wished. We 
fought, not with men like our- 



ON THE HIGH MOORS. 1 1 

selves, but with women and 
children and unarmed yokels, 
and butchered like Cossacks 
more than Christians. I grew 
sick of the work, and would 
have none of it, but led my 
men to the rendezvous sullenly, 
and hot at heart. 'Twas well 
the night was late when we 
arrived, else I should have met 
with Kennedy there and then, 
and God knows what might 
have happened. 

The next day, in a great fit 
of loathing, I followed my host 
again, hoping that the worst 
was over, and that henceforth I 
should have something more to 
my stomach. But little I knew 
of the men with whom I jour- 
neyed. There was a cottage 



12 S/J? QUIXOTE. 

there, a shepherd's house, and 
God ! they burned it down, and 
the man they shot before his 
wife and children, speaking 
naught to him but foul-mouthed 
reproaches and jabber about 
some creed which was strange 
to me. I could not prevent it, 
though 'twas all that I could do 
to keep myself from a mad 
attack. 

I rode up to Quentin Ken- 
nedy. 

"Sir," I said, "I have had 
great kindness at your hands, 
but you and I must part. I 
see that we are made of differ- 
ent stuff. I can endure war, 
but not massacre." 

He laughed at my scruples, 
incredulous of my purpose, un- 



ON THE HIGH MOORS. 13 

til at last he saw that I was 
fixed in my determination. 
Then he spoke half kindly : 

" This is a small matter to 
stand between me and thee. I 
am a servant of the king, and 
but do my duty. I little 
thought to have disloyalty 
preached from your lips ; but 
bide with me, and I promise 
that you shall see no more of it." 

But my anger was too great, 
and I would have none of him. 
Then — and now I marvel at the 
man's forbearance — he offered 
me money to recompense me 
for my trouble. 'Twas honestly 
meant, and oft have I regretted 
my action, but to me in my 
fury in seemed but an added 
insult. 



14 Sm QUIXOTE. 

" Nay," said I angrily ; " I 
take no payment from butchers. 
I am a gentleman, if a poor 
one. 

At this he flushed wrathfully, 
and I thought for an instant 
that he would have drawn on 
me ; but he refrained, and I 
rode off alone among the moors. 
I knew naught of the land, and 
I must have taken the wrong 
way, for noon found me hope- 
lessly mazed among a tangle of 
rocks and hills and peat-mosses. 
Verily, Quentin Kennedy had 
taken the best revenge by suf- 
fering me to follow my own 
leading. 

In the early hours of my 
journey my head was in such a 
whirl of wrath and dismay, that 



ON' THE HIGH MOORS. 15 

I had little power to think 
settled thoughts. I was in a 
desperate confusion, half angry 
at my own haste, and half bit- 
ter at the coldness of a friend 
who would permit a stranger to 
ride off alone with scarce a 
word of regret. When I have 
thought the matter out in after 
days, I have been as perplexed 
as ever ; yet it still seems to 
me, though I know not how, 
that I acted as any man of 
honor and heart would approve. 
Still this thought was little 
present to me in my discom- 
fort, as I plashed through the 
sodden turf. 

I had breakfasted at Ken- 
nedy's house of Dunpeel in the 
early morning, and since I had 



1 6 SIR QUIXOTE. 

no provision of any sort with 
me, 'twas not long ere the bit- 
ing of hunger began to set in. 
My race is a hardy stock, used 
to much hardships and rough 
fare, but in this inclement land 
my heart failed me wholly, and 
I grew sick and giddy, what 
with the famishing and the cold 
rain. For, though 'twas late 
August, the month of harvest 
and fruit-time in my own fair 
land, it seemed more like win- 
ter. The gusts of sharp wind 
came driving out of the mist 
and pierced me to the very 
marrow. So chill were they 
that my garments were of no 
avail to avert them ; being, 
indeed, of the thinnest, and cut 
according to the fashion of 



ON THE HIGH MOORS. 1 7 

fine cloth for summer wear at 
the shows and gallantries of 
the town. A pretty change, 
thought I, from the gardens of 
Versailles and the trim streets 
of Paris to this surly land ; and 
sad it was to see my cloak, 
meant for no rougher breeze 
than the gentle south, tossed 
and scattered by a grim wind. 

I have marked it often, and 
here I proved its truth, that 
man's thoughts turn always to 
the opposites of his present 
state. Here was I, set in the 
most uncharitable land on 
earth ; and yet ever before my 
eyes would come brief visions 
of the gay country which I had 
forsaken. In a gap of hill I 
fancied that I descried a level 



1 8 SIR QUIXOTE. 

distance with sunny vineyards 
and rich orchards, to which I 
must surely come if I but has- 
tened. When I stooped to 
drink at a stream, I fancied ere 
I drank it that the water would 
taste like the Bordeaux I was 
wont to drink at the little 
hostelry in the Rue Margot ; 
and when the tasteless liquid 
once entered my mouth, the 
disenchantment was severe. I 
met one peasant, an old man 
bent with toil, coarse-featured, 
yet not without some gleams 
of kindness, and I could not re- 
frain from addressing him in 
my native tongue. For though 
I could make some shape at his 
barbarous patois, in my present 
distress it came but uneasily 



ON THE HIGH MOORS. 19 

from my lips. He stared at me 
stupidly, and when I repeated 
the question in the English, he 
made some unintelligible reply, 
and stumbled onward in his 
way. I watched his poor figure 
as he walked. Such, thought 
I, are the canaille of the land, 
and 'tis little wonder if their 
bodies be misshapen, and their 
minds dull, for an archangel 
would become a boor if he 
dwelt here for any space of 
time. 

But enough of such dreams, 
and God knows no man had 
ever less cause for dreaming. 
Where was I to go, and what 
might my purpose be in this 
wilderness which men call the 
world ? An empty belly and a 



20 SII? QUIXOTE. 

wet skin do not tend to sedate 
thinking, so small wonder if I 
saw little ahead. I was making 
for the end of the earth, caring 
little in what direction, weary 
and sick of heart, with sharp 
anger at the past, and never a 
hope for the morrow. 

Yet, even in my direst days, 
I have ever found some grain 
of expectation to console me. 
I had five crowns in my purse ; 
little enough, but sufficient to 
win me a dinner and a bed at 
some cheap hostelry. So all 
through the gray afternoon I 
looked sharply for a house, 
mistaking every monstrous 
bowlder for a gable-end. I 
cheered my heart with think- 
ing of dainties to be looked 



ON THE HIGH MOORS. 21 

for ; a dish of boiled fish, or a 
piece of mutton from one of 
the wild-faced sheep which 
bounded ever and anon across 
my path. Nay, I was in no 
mood to be fastidious. I 
would e'en be content with a 
poor fare, provided always I 
could succeed in swallowing it, 
for my desire soon became less 
for the attainment of a pleasure 
than for the alleviation of a 
discomfort. For I was raven- 
ous as a hawk, and had it in 
my heart more than once to 
dismount, and seek for the 
sparse hill-berries. 

And, indeed, this was like to 
have been my predicament, for 
the day grew late and I came 
no nearer a human dwelling. 



2 2 SIR QUIXOTE. 

The valley in which I rode 
grew wider, about to open, as 
I thought, into the dale of a 
river. The hills, from rising 
steeply by the wayside, were 
withdrawn to the distance of 
maybe a mile, where they lifted 
their faces through the network 
of the mist. All the land be- 
tween them, save a strip where 
the road lay, was filled with a 
black marsh, where moor birds 
made a most dreary wailing. 
It minded me of the cries 
of the innocents whom King 
Herod slew, as I had seen the 
dead represented outside the 
village church of Rohaine in 
my far-away homeland. My 
heart grew sore with longing. 
I had bartered my native coun- 



ON THE HIGH MOORS. 23 

try for the most dismal on 
earth, and all for nothing. 
Madman that I was, were it 
not better to be a beggar in 
France than a horse-captain 
in any other place ? I cursed 
my folly sorely, as each fresh 
blast sent a shiver through my 
body. Nor was my horse in any 
better state — Saladin, whom I 
had seen gayly decked at a pro- 
cession with ribbons and pretty 
favors, who had carried me so 
often and so far, who had 
always fared on the best. The 
poor beast was in a woeful 
plight, with his pasterns bleed- 
ing from the rough stones 
and his head bent with weari- 
ness. Verily, I pitied him 
more than myself, and if I 



24 SIR QUIXOTE. 

had had a crust we should 
have shared it. 

The night came in, black as 
a draw-well and stormy as the 
Day of Doom. I had now no 
little trouble in picking out the 
way from among the treach- 
erous morasses. Of a sudden 
my horse would have a fore- 
foot in a pool of black peat- 
water, from which I would 
scarce, by much pulling, re- 
cover him. A sharp jag of 
stone in the way would all but 
bring him to his knees. So 
we dragged weari fully along, 
scarce fearing, caring, hoping 
for anything in this world or 
another. 

It was, I judge, an hour after 
nightfall, about nine of the 



O.V THE FIIGH MOORS. 25 

clock, when I fancied that some 
glimmer shot through the thick 
darkness. I could have clapped 
my hands for joy had I been 
able ; but alas ! these were so 
stiff, that clapping was as far 
from me as from a man with 
the palsy. 

"Courage!" said I, "cour- 
age, Saladin ! There is yet 
hope for us! " 

The poor animal seemed to 
share in my expectations. He 
carried me quicker forward, so 
that soon the feeble gleam had 
grown to a broad light. Inn 
or dwelling, thought I, there I 
stay, for I will go not a foot 
further for man or devil. My 
sword must e'en be my /"(j/zrrzVr 
to get me a night's lodging. 



26 SIR QUIXOTE. 

Then I saw the house, a low, 
dark place, unillumined save 
for that front window which 
shone as an invitation to trav- 
elers. In a minute I was at 
the threshold. There, in truth, 
was the sign flapping above the 
lintel, 'Twas an inn at length, 
and my heart leaped out in 
gratitude. 




CHAPTER II. 

I FARE BADLY INDOORS. 

I DROPPED wearily 
from my horse and 
stumbled forward to 
the door. 'Twas close shut, 
but rays of light came through 
the chinks at the foot, and the 
great light in the further win- 
dow lit up the ground for some 
yards. I knocked loudly with 
my sword-hilt. Stillness seemed 
to reign within, save that from 
some distant room a faint sound 
of men's voices was brought. 
A most savory smell stole out 
27 



2 8 S//^ QUIXOTE. 

to the raw air and revived my 
hunger with hopes of supper. 

Again I knocked, this time 
rudely, and the door rattled on 
its hinges. This brought some 
signs of life from within. I 
could hear a foot on the stone 
floor of a passage, a bustling as 
of many folk running hither 
and thither, and a great bark- 
ing of a sheep-dog. Of a sud- 
den the door was flung open, 
a warm blaze of light rushed 
forth, and I stood blinking be- 
fore the master of the house. 

He was a tall, grizzled man of 
maybe fifty years, thin, with a 
stoop in his back that all hill- 
folk have, and a face brown 
with sun and wind. I judged 
him fifty, but he may have been 



I FARE BADL V INDOORS. 29 

younger by ten years, for in 
that desert men age the speed- 
ier. His dress was dirty and 
ragged in many places, and in 
one hand he carried a pistol, 
which he held before him as if 
for protection. He stared at 
me for a second. 

" Wha are ye that comes dir- 
lin' here on sic a nicht?" said 
he, and I give his speech as I 
remember it. As he uttered 
the words, he looked me keenly 
in the face, and I felt his thin, 
cold glance piercing to the roots 
of my thoughts. I liked the 
man ill, for, what with his lean 
figure and sour countenance, he 
was far different from the jovial, 
well-groomed fellows who will 
give you greeting at any way- 



3° SIR QUIXOTE. 

side inn from Calais to Bor- 
deaux. 

"You ask a strange question, 
and one little needing answer. 
If a man has wandered for hours 
in bog-holes, he will be in no 
mind to stand chaffering at inn 
doors. I seek a night's lodging 
for my horse and myself." 

" It's little we can give you, 
for it's a bare, sinfu' land," said 
he, " but such as I ha'e ye're 
welcome to. Bide a minute, 
and I'll bring a licht to tak' ye 
to the stable." 

He was gone down the pass- 
age for a few seconds, and re- 
turned with a rushlight encased 
against the wind in a wicker 
covering. The storm made it 
flicker and flare till it sent 



/ FARE BADL Y INDOORS. 3 ^ 

dancing shadows over the dark 
walls of the house. The stable 
lay round by the back end, and 
thither poor Saladin and his 
master stumbled over a most 
villainous rough ground. The 
place, when found, was no great 
thing to boast of — a cold shed, 
damp with rain, with blaffs of 
wind wheezing through it ; and 
I was grieved to think of my, 
horse's nightly comfort. The 
host snatched from a rack a 
truss of hay, which by its smell 
was old enough, and tossed it 
into the manger. " There ye 
are, and it's mair than mony a 
Christian gets in thae weary 
days." 

Then he led the way back 
into the house. We entered a 



32 SI/? QUIXOTE. 

draughty passage with a win- 
dow at one end, broken in part, 
through which streamed the 
cold air. A turn brought me 
into a Httle square room, where 
a fire flickered and a low lamp 
burned on the table. 'Twas so 
home-like and peaceful that my 
heart went out to it, and I 
thanked my fate for the com- 
fortable lodging I had chanced 
on. Mine host stirred the blaze 
and bade me strip off my wet 
garments. He fetched me an 
armful of rough homespuns, 
but I cared little to put them 
on, so I e'en sat in my shirt and 
waited on the drying of my 
coat. My mother's portrait, 
the one by Grizot, which I have 
had set in gold and wear always 



/ FARE BADL V INDOORS. Zl 

near my heart, dangled to my 
lap, and I took this for an evil 
omen. I returned it quick to 
its place, the more so because I 
saw the landlord's lantern-jaw 
close at the sight, and his cold 
eyes twinkle. Had I been wise, 
too, I would have stripped my 
rings from my fingers ere I 
began this ill-boding travel, for 
it does not behoove a gentleman 
to be sojourning among beggars 
with gold about him. 

" Have ye come far the day ? " 
the man asked, in his harsh 
voice. " Ye're gey-like splashed 
wi' dirt, so I jalouse ye cam 
ower the AngeVs Ladder!' 

"Angel's ladder!" quoth I, 
" devil's ladder I call it ! for a 
more blackguardly place I have 



34 S//i QUIXOTE. 

not clapped eyes on since I first 
mounted horse." 

" Angel's Ladder they call it," 
said the man, to all appearance 
never heeding my words, " for 
there, mony a year syne, an 
holy man of God, one Ebenezer 
Clavershaws, preached to a 
goodly gathering on the shining 
ladder seen by the patriarch 
Jacob at Bethel, which extend- 
ed from earth to heaven. 
'Twas a rich discourse, and I 
have it still in my mind." 

" 'Twas more likely to have 
been a way to the Evil One for 
me. Had I but gone a further 
step many a time, I should have 
been giving my account ere this 
to my Maker. But a truce to 
this talk. 'Twas not to listen 



/ FARE BADL V INDOORS. 35 

to such that I came here ; let 
me have supper, the best you 
have, and a bottle of whatever 
wine you keep in this accursed 
place. Burgundy is my choice." 
" Young man," the fellow said 
gravely, looking at me with his 
unpleasing eyes, " you are one 
who loves the meat that perish- 
eth rather than the unsearch- 
able riches of God's grace. Oh, 
be warned while yet there is 
time. You know not the de- 
liehts of o-ladsome communion 
wi' Him, which makes the moss- 
hags and heather-busses more 
fair than the roses of Sharon 
or the balmy plains of Gilead. 
Oh, be wise and turn, for now is 
the accepted time, now is the 
day of salvation ! " 



36 SIR QUIXOTE. 

Sacre ! what madman have I 
fallen in with, thought I, who 
talks in this fashion. I had 
heard of the wild deeds of those 
in our own land who call them- 
selves Huguenots, and I was not 
altogether without fear. But 
my appetite was keen, and my 
blood was never of the coolest. 

" Peace with your nonsense, 
sirrah," I said sternly ; " what 
man are you whocome and prate 
before your guests, instead of 
fetching their supper? Let me 
have mine at once, and no more 
of your Scripture." 

As I spoke, I looked him an- 
grily in the face, and my bear- 
ing must have had some effect 
upon him, for he turned sud- 
denly and passed out. 



/ FA RE BA DL V IND ORS. 3 7 

A wench appeared, a comely 
slip of a girl, Avith eyes some- 
what dazed and timorous, and 
set the table with viands. 
There was a moor-fowl, well- 
roasted and tasty to the palate, 
a cut of salted beef, and for 
wine, a bottle of French claret 
of excellent quality. 'Twas so 
much in excess of my expecta- 
tion, that I straightway fell 
into a good humor, and the 
black cloud of dismay lifted in 
some degree from my wits. I 
filled my glass and looked at 
it against the fire-glow, and 
dreamed that 'twas an emblem 
of the after course of my life. 
Who knew what fine things I 
might come to yet, though now 
I was solitary in a strange land? 



38 SII^ QUIXOTE. 

The landlord came in and 
took away the remnants him- 
self. He looked at me fixedly- 
more than once, and in his 
glance I read madness, greed, 
and hatred. I feared his look, 
and was glad to see him leave, 
for he made me feel angry 
and a little awed. However, 
thought I, 'tis not the first 
time I have met a churlish host, 
and I filled my glass again. 

The fire bickered cheerily, 
lighting up the room and com- 
forting my cold skin. I drew 
my chair close and stretched 
out my legs to the blaze, till in 
a little, betwixt heat and weari- 
ness, I was pleasantly drowsy. 
I fell to thinking of the events 
of the day and the weary road 



/ FARE BADL Y INDOORS. 39 

I had traveled ; then to an 
earher time, when I first came 
to Scotland, and my hopes 
were still unbroken. After all 
this I began to mind me of the 
pleasant days in France ; for, 
though I had often fared ill 
enough there, all was forgotten 
but the good fortune ; and I 
had soon built out of my brain 
a France which was liker Para- 
dise than anywhere on earth. 
Every now and then a log 
would crackle or fall, and so 
wake me with a start, for the 
fire was of that sort which is 
common in hilly places — a great 
bank of peat with wood laid 
athwart. Blue, pungent smoke 
came out in rings and clouds, 
which smelt gratefully in my 



40 SIR QUIXOTE. 

nostrils after the black out-of- 
doors. 

By and by, what with think- 
ing of the past, what with my 
present comfort, and what with 
an ever hopeful imagination, 
my prospects came to look less 
dismal. 'Twas true that I was 
here in a most unfriendly land 
with little money and no skill 
of the country. But Scotland 
was but a little place, after all. 
I must come to Leith in time, 
where I could surely meet a 
French skipper who would 
take me over, money or no. 
You will ask, whoever may 
chance to read this narrative, 
why, in Heaven's name, I did 
not turn and go back to Ayr, 
the port from which I had 



/ FARE BADL V INDOORS. 41 

come? The reason is not far 
to seek. The whole land be- 
hind me stank in my nostrils, 
for there dwelt Ouentin Ken- 
nedy, and there lay the scene 
of my discomfiture and my 
sufferings. Faugh ! the smell 
of that wretched moor-road is 
with me yet. So, with think- 
ing one way and another, I 
came to a decision to go for- 
ward in any case, and trust to 
God and my own good fortune. 
After this I must have ceased 
to have any thoughts, and 
dropped off snugly to sleep. 
I wakened, at what time I 
know not, shivering, with a 
black fire before my knees. 
The room was black with dark- 
ness, save where through a 



42 SI/? QUIXOTE. 

chink in the window-shutter 
there came a gleam of pale 
moonlight. I sprang up in 
haste and called for a servant 
to show me to my sleeping 
room, but the next second I 
could have wished the word 
back, for I feared that no 
servant would be awake and 
at hand. To my mind there 
seemed something passing 
strange in thus leaving a guest 
to slumber by the fire. 

To my amazement, the land- 
lord himself came to my call, 
bearing a light in his hand. I 
was reasonably surprised, for 
though I knew not the hour of 
the night, I judged from the 
state of the fire that it must 
have been far advanced. 



/ FARE BADL Y INDOORS. 43 

" I had fallen asleep," I said, 
in apology, " and now would 
finish what I have begun. 
Show me my bed." 

" It '11 be a dark nicht and a 
coorse, out-bye," said the man, 
as he led the way solemnly 
from the room, up a rickety 
stair, down a mirk passage to a 
chamber which, from the turn- 
ings of the house, I guessed to 
be facing the east. 'Twas a 
comfortless place, and ere I 
could add a word I found the 
the man leaving the room with 
the light. "You'll find your 
way to bed in the dark," quoth 
he, and I was left in blackness. 

I sat down on the edge of 
the bed, half-stupid with sleep, 
my teeth chattering with the 



44 SIR QUIXOTE. 

cold, listening to the gusts of 
wind battering against the 
little window. 'Faith! thought 
I, this is the worst enter- 
tainment I ever had, and I 
have made trial of many. Yet 
I need not complain, for I have 
had a good fire and a royal 
supper, and my present dis- 
comfort is due in great part to 
my own ill habit of drowsiness. 
I rose to undress, for my bones 
were sore after the long day's 
riding, when, by some chance, 
I moved forward to the window 
and opened it to look on the 
night. 

'Twas wintry weather outside, 
though but the month of Au- 
cfust. The face of the hills 
fronting me were swathed in 



/ FARE BADL V INDOORS. 45 

white mist, which hung low 
even to the banks of the stream. 
There was a great muttering in 
the air of swollen water, for the 
rain had ceased, and the red 
waves were left to roll down 
the channel to the lowlands and 
make havoc of meadow and 
steading. The sky was cum- 
bered with clouds, and no clear 
light of the moon came through ; 
but since 'twas nigh the time of 
the full moon the night was 
not utterly dark. 

I lingered for maybe five 
minutes in this posture, and 
then I heard that which made 
me draw in my head and listen 
the more intently. A thud of 
horses' hoofs on the wet ground 
came to my ear. A second, and 



46 SIR QUIXOTE. 

it was plainer, the noise of some 
half-dozen riders clearly ap- 
proaching the inn. 'Twas a 
lonesome place, and I judged 
it strange that company should 
come so late. 

I flung myself on the bed in 
my clothes, and could almost 
have fallen asleep as I was, so 
weary was my body. But there 
was that in my mind which for- 
bade slumber, a vague uneasi- 
ness as of some ill approaching, 
which it behooved me to com- 
bat. Again and again I tried 
to drive it from me as mere 
cowardice, but again it returned 
to vex me. There was nothing 
for it but that I should lie on 
my back and bide what might 
come. 



I FARE BADL V INDOORS. 47 

« 

Then again I heard a sound, 
this time from a room beneath. 
'Twas as if men were talking 
softly, and moving to and fro. 
My curiosity was completely 
aroused, and I thought it no 
shame to my soldierly honor to 
slip from my room and gather 
what was the purport of their 
talk. At such a time, and in 
such a place, it boded no good 
for me, and the evil face of the 
landlord was ever in my mem- 
ory. The staircase creaked a 
little as it felt my weight, 
but it had been built for heav- 
ier men, and I, passed it in 
safety. Clearly the visitors 
were in the room where I had 
supped. 

" Will we ha'e muckle wark 



4^ SIR QUIXOTE. 

wi' him, think ye ? " I heard 
one man ask. 

" Na, na," said another, whom 
I knew for mine host, "he's a 
foreigner, a man frae a fremt 
land, and a' folk ken they're 
little use. Forbye, I had stock 
o' him mysel', and I think I 
could mak' his bit ribs crack 
thegither. He'll no' be an ill 
customer to deal wi'." 

" But will he no' be a guid 
hand at the swird ? There's 
no yin o' us here muckle at 
that." 

'' Toots," said another, " we'll 
e'en get him intil a corner, 
where he'll no git leave to stir 
an airm." 

I had no stomach for more. 
With a dull sense of fear I crept 



/ FARE BADL Y INDOORS. 49 

back to my room, scarce heed- 
ing in my anger whether I 
made noise or not. Good God ! 
thought I, I have traveled by 
land and sea to die in a moor- 
land alehouse by the hand of 
common robbers ! My heart 
grew hot at the thought of the 
landlord, for I made no doubt 
but it was my jewels that had 
first set his teeth. I loosened 
my sword in its scabbard ; and 
now I come to think of it, 'twas 
a great wonder that it had not 
been taken away from me while 
I slept. I could only guess 
that the man had been afraid 
to approach me before the 
arrival of his confederates. I 
gripped my sword-hilt ; ah, how 
often had I felt its touch under 



50 SIR QUIXOTE. 

kindlier circumstances — when I 
slew the boar in the woods at 
Belmont, when I made the Sieur 
de Biran crave pardon before 

my feet, when I But peace 

with such memories ! At all 
events, if Jean de Rohaine must 
die among ruffians, unknown 
and forgotten, he would finish 
his days like a gentleman of 
courage. I prayed to God that 
I might only have the life of 
the leader. 

But this world is sweet to all 
men, and as I awaited death 
in that dark room, it seemed 
especially fair to live. I was 
but in the prime of my age, 
on the near side of forty, 
hale in body, a master of the 
arts and graces. Were it not 



/ FARE BADL Y INDOORS. 5 ^ 

passing hard that I should 
perish in thiswise? I looked 
every way for a means of escape. 
There was but one — the little 
window which looked upon the 
ground east of the inn. 'Twas 
just conceivable that a man 
might leap it and make his 
way to the hills, and so baffle 
his pursuers. Two thoughts 
deterred me ; first, that I had 
no horse and could not con- 
tinue my journey ; second, that 
in all likelihood there would be 
a watch set below. My heart 
sank within me, and I ceased 
to think. 

For, just at that moment, I 
heard a noise below as of men 
leaving the room. I shut my 
lips and waited. Here, I con- 



52 STR QUIXOTE. 

eluded, is death coming to meet 
me. But the next moment the 
noise had stopped, and 'twas 
evident that the conclave was 
not yet closed. 'Tis a strange 
thing, the mind of man, for I, 
who had looked with despair at 
my chances a minute agone, 
now, at the passing of this im- 
mediate danger, plucked up 
heart, clapped my hat on my 
head, and opened the window. 
The night air blew chill, but 
all seemed silent below. So, 
very carefully I hung over the 
ledge, gripped the sill with my 
hands, swung my legs into the 
air, and dropped. I lighted on 
a tussock of grass and rolled 
over on my side, only to recover 
myself in an instant and rise to 



/ FARE BADL Y INDOORS. 53 

my feet, and, behold, at my 
side, a tall man keeping sentinel 
on horseback. 

At this the last flicker of 
hope died in my bosom. The 
man never moved or spake, 
but only stared fixedly at me. 
Yet there was that in his face 
and bearing which led me to 
act as I did. 

" If you are a man of honor," 
I burst out, " though you are 
engaged in an accursed trade, 
dismount and meet me in com- 
bat. Your spawn will not be out 
for a little time, and the night is 
none so dark. If I must die, I 
would die at least in the open 
air, with my foe before me." 

My words must have found 
some answering chord in the 



54 SIR QUIXOTE. 

man's breast, for he presently 
spoke, and asked me my name 
and errand in the countryside. 
I told him in a dozen words, 
and at my tale he shrugged his 
shoulders. 

" I am in a great mind," says 
he, " to let you go. I am all 
but sick of this butcher work, 
and would fling it to the 
winds at a word. 'Tis well 
enough for the others, who are 
mongrel bred, but it ill be- 
comes a man of birth like me, 
who am own cousin to the 
Maxwells o' Drurie." 

He fell for a very little time 
into a sort of musing, tugging 
at his beard like a man in per- 
plexity. Then he spoke out 
suddenly : 



/ FARE DADL V INDOORS. 55 

** See you yon tuft of willows 
by the water? There's a space 
behind it where a horse and 
man might stand well con- 
cealed. There is your horse," 
and he pointed to a group of 
horses standing tethered by the 
roadside ; " lead him to the 
place I speak of, and trust to 
God for the rest. I will raise a 
scare that you're off the other 
airt, and, mind, that whenever 
you see the tails o' us. you 
mount and ride for life in the 
way I tell you. You should 
win to Drumlanrig by morning, 
where there are quieter folk. 
Now, mind my bidding, and 
dae't before my good will 
changes." 

" May God do so to you in 



56 SIR QUIXOTE. 

your extremity! If ever I 
meet you on earth I will repay 
you for your mercy. But a 
word with you. Who is that 
man ? " and I pointed to the 
house. 

The fellow laughed dryly. 
" It's easy seen you're no 
acquaint here, or you would 
ha'e heard o' Long Jock o' the 
Hirsel. There's mony a man 
would face the devil wi' a regi- 
ment o' dragoons at his back, 
that would flee at a glint from 
Jock's een. You're weel quit 
o' him. But be aff afore the 
folk are stirring." 

I needed no second bidding, 
but led Saladin with all speed 
to the willows, where I made 
him stand knee-keep in the 



/ FARE BADL Y INDOORS. 57 

water within cover of the trees, 
while I crouched by his side. 
'Twas none too soon, for I was 
scarce in hiding when I heard 
a great racket in the house, and 
the sound of men swearing and 
mounting horse. There was a 
loud clattering of hoofs, which 
shortly died away, and left the 
world quiet, save for the broil 
of the stream and the loud 
screaming of moorbirds. 




CHAPTER III. 

I FARE BADLY ABROAD. 

LL this has taken a 
long time to set down, 
but there was little 
time in the acting. Scarce 
half an hour had passed from 
my waking by the black fire 
till I found myself up to the 
waist in the stream. I made 
no further delay, but, as soon 
as the air was quiet, led Saladin 
out as stilly as I could on the 
far side of the willows, clam- 
bered on his back (for I was 
too sore in body to mount in 

S8 



/ FARE BADL V ABROAD. 59 

any other fashion), and was 
riding for dear life along the 
moor road in the contrary 
direction to that from which I 
had come on the night before. 
The horse had plainly been 
well fed, since, doubtless, the 
rufifians had marked him for 
their own plunder. He covered 
the ground in gallant fashion, 
driving up jets and splashes of 
rain water from the pools in 
the way. Mile after mile was 
passed with no sound of pur- 
suers ; one hill gave place to 
another; the stream grew wider 
and more orderly ; but still I 
kept up the breakneck pace, 
fearina; to slacken rein. Fif- 
teen miles were covered, as I 
judged, before I saw the first 



6o SIR QUIXOTE. 

light of dawn in the sky, a red 
streak in a gray desert ; and 
brought my horse down to a 
trot, thanking God that at last 
I was beyond danger. 

I was sore in body, with 
clammy garments sticking to 
my skin, aching in back and 
neck, unslept, well-nigh as mis- 
erable as a man could be. But 
great as was my bodily discom- 
fort, 'twas not one tittle to com- 
pare with the sickness of my 
heart. I had been driven to 
escape from a hostel by a win- 
dow like a common thief ; com- 
pelled to ride, — nay, there was 
no use in disguising it, — to flee, 
before a pack of ill-bred vil- 
lains ; I, a gentleman of France, 
who had ruffled it with the best 



/ FARE BADL V ABROAD. 6 1 

of them in my fit of prosperity. 
Again and again I questioned 
with myself whether I had not 
done better to die in that place, 
fighting as long as the breath 
was in my body. Of this I am 
sure, at any rate, that it would 
have been the way more sooth- 
ing to my pride. I argued the 
matter with myself, according 
to the most approved logic, but 
could come no nearer to the 
solution. For while I thought 
the picture of myself dying 
with my back to the wall the 
more heroical and gentleman- 
like, it yet went sore against me 
to think of myself, with all my 
skill of the sword and the polite 
arts, perishing in a desert place 
at the hand of common cut- 



62 SIR QUIXOTE. 

throats. 'Twas no fear of death, 
I give my word of honor; that 
was a weakness never found in 
our race. Courage is a virtue 
I take no credit for ; 'tis but a 
matter of upbringing. But a 
man loves to make some noise 
in the earth ere he leaves it, or 
at least to pass with blowings 
of the trumpet and some man- 
ner of show. To this day I 
cannot think of any way by 
which I could have mended my 
conduct. I can but set it down 
as a mischance of Providence, 
which meets all men in their 
career, but of which no man of 
spirit cares to think. 

The sun rose clear, but had 
scarce shone for an hour, when, 
as is the way in this land, a 



/ FARE BADL V ABROAD. 63 

fresh deluge of rain came on, 
and the dawn, which had begun 
in crimson, ended in a dull level 
of gray. I had never been used 
with much foul weather of this 
sort, so I bore it ill. 'Twas 
about nine of the morning when 
I rode into the village of Drum- 
lanrig, a jumble of houses in 
the lee of a great wood, which 
runs up to meet the descend- 
ing moorlands. Some ragged 
brats, heedless of the weather, 
played in the street, if one may 
call it by so fine a name ; but 
for the most part the houses 
seemed quite deserted. A 
woman looked incuriously at 
me ; a man who was carrying 
sacks scarce raised his head to 
view me ; the whole place was 



64 Slli QUIXOTE. 

like a dwelling of the dead, I 
have since learned the reason, 
which was no other than the 
accursed butchery on which I 
had quarreled with Quentin 
Kennedy, and so fallen upon 
misfortune. The young and 
manly were all gone; some to 
the hills for hiding, some to the 
town prisons, some across the 
seas to work in the plantations, 
and some on that long journey 
from which no man returns. 
My heart boils within me to this 
day to think of it — but there ! 
it is long since past, and I have 
little need to be groaning over 
it now. 

There was no inn in the 
place, but I bought bread from 
the folk of a little farm-steading 



/ FARE BADL Y ABROAD. 65 

at one end of the village street. 
They would scarce give it to 
me at first, and 'twas not till 
they beheld my woebegone 
plight that their hearts relented. 
Doubtless they took me for one 
of the soldiers who had harried 
them and theirs, little guessing 
that 'twas all for their sake that 
I was in such evil case. I did 
not tarry to ask the road, for 
Leith was too far distant for 
the people in that place to know 
it. Of this much I was sure, 
that it lay to the northeast, so I 
took my way in that direction, 
shaping my course by the sun. 
There was a little patch of 
green fields, a clump of trees, 
and a quiet stream beside the 
village ; but I had scarce ridden 



66 SIR QUIXOTE. 

half a mile beyond it when 
once more the moor swallowed 
me up in its desert of moss and 
wet heather, 

I was now doubly dispirited. 
My short exhilaration of escape 
had gone, and all the pangs 
of wounded pride and despair 
seized upon me, mingled with a 
sort of horror of the place I had 
come through. Whenever I 
saw a turn of hill which brought 
the AngeVs Ladder to my mind, 
I shivered in spite of myself, 
and could have found it in my 
heart to turn and flee. In addi- 
tion, I would have you remem- 
ber, I was soaked to the very 
skin, my eyes weary with lack 
of sleep, and my legs cramped 
with much riding. 



/ FARE BADL V ABHOAD. 67 

The place in the main was 
moorland, Avith steep, desolate 
hills on my left. On the right 
to the south I had glimpses of a 
fairer country, woods and dis- 
tant fields, seen for an instant 
through the driving mist. In 
a trice France was back in my 
mind, for I could not see an 
acre of green land without com- 
ing nigh to tears. Yet, and 
perhaps 'twas fortunate for me, 
such glimpses were all too rare. 
For the most part, the way was 
along succession of sloughs and 
mires, with here a piece of dry, 
heathy ground, and there an 
impetuous water coming down 
from the highlands. Saladin 
soon fell tired, and, indeed, 
small wonder, since he had come 



68 SIR QUIXOTE. 

many miles, and his fare had 
been of the scantiest. He 
would put his foot in a bog-hole 
and stumble so sharply that I 
would all but lose my seat. 
Then, poor beast, he would take 
shame to himself, and pick his 
way as well as his weary legs 
would suffer him. 'Twas an evil 
plight for man and steed, and 
I knew not which to pity the 
more. 

At noon, I came to the skirts 
of a long hill, Avhose top was 
hidden with fog, but which I 
judged to be high and lone- 
some. I met a man- — the first 
I had seen since Drumlanrig — 
and asked him my whereabouts. 
I learned that the hill was 
called Queen's Berry, and that 



/ FARE BADL V ABROAD. 69 

in some dozen miles I would 
strike the high road to Edin- 
burgh. I could get not an- 
other word out of him, but 
must needs content myself with 
this crumb of knowledge. The 
road in front was no road, 
nothing but a heathery moor, 
with walls of broken stones 
seaming it like the lines of 
sewing in an old coat. Gray 
broken hills came up for a 
minute, as a stray wind blew 
the mist aside, only to disap- 
pear the next instant in a ruin 
of cloud. 

From this place I mark the 
beginning of the most wretched 
journey in my memory. Till 
now I had had some measure 
of bodily strength to support 



70 SIR QUIXOTE. 

me. Now it failed, and a cold 
shivering fit seized on my vitals, 
and more than once I was like 
to have fallen from my horse. 
A great stupidity came over 
my brain ; I could call up no 
remembrance to cheer me, but 
must plod on in a horror of 
darkness. The cause was not 
far distant — cold, wet, and de- 
spair. I tried to swallow some 
of the rain-soaked bread in my 
pouch, but my mouth was as 
dry as a skin. I dismounted to 
drink at a stream, but the water 
could hardly trickle down my 
throat so much did it ache. 
'Twas as if I were on the eve 
of an ague, and in such a place 
it were like to be the end of 
me. 



/ FARE BADLY ABROAD. 7 1 

Had there been a house, I 
should have craved shelter. 
But one effect of my sickness 
was, that I soon strayed woe- 
fully from my path, such as it 
was, and found myself in an 
evil case with bogs and steep 
hillsides. I had much to do in 
keeping Saladin from danger; 
and had I not felt the obliga- 
tion to behave like a man, I 
should have flung the reins 
on his neck and let him bear 
himself and his master to de- 
struction. Again and again I 
drove the wish from my mind — 
" As well die in a bog-hole or 
break your neck over a crag as 
dwine away with ague in the 
cold heather, as you are like to 
do," said the tempter. But I 



72 SIR QUIXOTE. 

steeled my heart, and made a 
great resolve to keep one thing, 
though I should lose all else — 
some shreds of my manhood. 

Toward evening I grew so 
ill that I was fain, when we 
came to a level place, to lay 
my head on Saladin's neck, and 
let him stumble forward. My 
head swam, and my back ached 
so terribly that I guessed 
feverishly that someone had 
stabbed me unawares. The 
weather cleared just about 
even, and the light of day flick- 
ered out in a watery sunset, 
'Twas like the close of my life, 
I thought, a gray ill day and a 
poor ending. The notion de- 
pressed me miserably. I felt 
a kinship with that feeble 



/ FARE BADL Y ABROAD. 73 

evening light, a kinship begot- 
ten of equahty in weakness. 
However, all would soon end ; 
my day must presently have 
its evening ; and then, if all 
tales were true, and my prayers 
had any efficacy, I should be in 
a better place. 

But when once the night in 
its blackness had set in, I 
longed for the light again, 
however dismal it might be. 
A ghoulish song, one which I 
had heard long before, was ever 
coming to my memory : 

" La pluye nous a debuez et lave;?, 
Et le soleil dessechez et noirciz ; 
Pies, corbeaux " 

With a sort of horror I tried 
to drive it from my mind. A 
dreadful heaviness oppressed 



74 SIR QUIXOTE. 

me. Fears which I am 
ashamed to set down thronged 
my brain. The way had grown 
easier, or I make no doubt my 
horse had fallen. 'Twas a 
track we were on, I could tell 
by the greater freedom with 
which Saladin stepped. God 
send, I prayed, that we be 
near to folk, and that they 
be kindly ; this prayer I said 
many times to the accompani- 
ment of the whistling of the 
doleful wind. Every gust 
pained me. I was the sport of 
the weather, a broken puppet 
tossed about by circumstance. 

Now an answer was sent to 
me, and that a speedy one. I 
came of a sudden to a clump of 
shrubbery beside a wall. Then 



/ FARE BADL V ABROAD. 75 

at a turn of the way a light 
shone through, as from a broad 
window among trees. A few 
steps more and I stumbled on 
a gate, and turned Saladin's 
head up a pathway. The rain 
dripped heavily from the 
bushes, a branch slashed me 
in the face, and my weariness 
grew tenfold with every second. 
I dropped like a log before the 
door, scarce looking to see 
whether the house was great or 
little ; and, ere I could knock 
or make any call, swooned 
away dead on the threshold. 




CHAPTER IV. 

OF MY COMING TO LINDEAN. 

HEN I came to my- 
self I was lying in a 
pleasant room with a 
great flood of sunlight drifting 
through the window. My brain 
was so confused that it was 
many minutes ere I could guess 
in which part of the earth I was 
laid. My first thought was that 
I was back in France, and I re- 
joiced with a great gladness; 
but as my wits cleared the 
past came back by degrees, till 
I had it plain before me, from 
76 



MY COMING TO LINDEAN. 77 

my setting-out to my fainting 
at the door. Clearly I was in 
the house where I had arrived 
on the even of yesterday. 

I stirred, and found my weak- 
ness gone, and my health, save 
for some giddiness in the head, 
quite recovered. This was ever 
the way of our family, who may 
be in the last desperation one 
day and all alive and active the 
next. Our frames are like the 
old grape tendrils, slim, but 
tough as whipcord. 

At my first movement some- 
one arose from another part of 
the room and came forward. I 
looked with curiosity, and found 
that it was a. girl, who brought 
me some strengthening food- 
stuff in a bowl. The sunlight 



78 SIR QUIXOTE. 

smote her full in the face and 
set her hair all aglow, as if she 
were the Madonna. I could 
not see her well, but, as she 
bent over me, she seemed tall 
and lithe and pretty to look 
upon. 

" How feel you ? " she asked, 
in a strange, soft accent, speak- 
ing the pure English, but with 
a curious turn in her voice. " I 
trust you are better of your ail- 
ment." 

" Yes, that I am," I said 
briskly, for I was ashamed to 
be lying there in good health, 
** and I would thank you, made- 
moiselle, for your courtesy to 
a stranger." 

" Nay, nay," she cried, " 'twas 
but common humanity. You 



MV COMING TO LhYDEAN. 79 

were sore spent last night, both 
man and horse. Had you trav- 
eled far? But no," she added 
hastily, seeing me about to 
plunge into a narrative ; " your 
tale will keep. I cannot have 
you making yourself ill again. 
You had better bide still a little 
longer." And with a deft hand 
she arranged the pillows and 
was gone. 

For some time I lay in a 
pleasing inaction. 'Twas plain 
I had fallen among gentlefolk, 
and I blessed the good fortune 
which had led me to the place. 
Here I might find one to hear 
my tale and help me in my ill- 
luck. At any rate for the pres- 
ent I was in a good place, and 
when one has been living in a 



8o S//? QUIXOTE. 

nightmare, the present has the 
major part in his thoughts. 
With this I fell asleep again, 
for I was still somewhat wearied 
in body. 

When I awoke 'twas late 
afternoon. The evil weather 
seemed to have gone, for the 
sun was bright and the sky 
clear with the mellowness of 
approaching even. The girl 
came again and asked me how 
I fared. " For," said she, " per- 
haps you wish to rise, if you are 
stronger. Your clothes were 
sadly wet and torn when we 
got you to bed last night, so 
my father has bade me ask you 
to accept of another suit till your 
own may be in better order. 
See, I have laid them out for 



MY COMING TO LINDEAN. «i 

you, if you will put them on." 
And again, ere I could thank 
her, she was gone. 

I was surprised and some- 
what affected by this crowning 
kindness, and at the sight of so 
much care for a stranger whose 
very name was unknown. I 
longed to meet at once with 
the men of the house, so I 
sprung up and drew the clothes 
toward me. They were of 
rough gray cloth, very strong 
and warm, and fitting a man a 
little above the ordinary height, 
of such stature as mine is. It 
did not take me many minutes 
to dress, and when once more I 
found myself arrayed in whole- 
some garments I felt my spirit 
returning, and with it came 



52 SIR QUIXOTE. 

hope, and a kindlier outlook on 
the world. 

No one appeared, so I opened 
my chamber door and found 
myself at the head of a stair- 
case, which turned steeply 
down almost from the threshold. 
A great window illumined it, 
and many black-framed pictures 
hung on the walls adown it. 
At the foot there was a hall, 
broad and low in the roof, 
whence some two or three 
doors opened. Sounds of men 
in conversation came from one, 
so I judged it wise to turn 
there. With much curiosity I 
lifted the latch and entered 
unbidden. 

'Twas a little room, well fur- 
nished, and stocked to the very 



MY COMING TO LINDEAN. 83 

ceiling with books. A fire 
burned on the hearth, by which 
sat two men talking. They rose 
to their feet as I entered, and 
I marked them well. One was 
an elderly man of maybe sixty 
years, with a bend in his back 
as if from study. His face was 
narrow and kindly ; blue eyes, 
like a Northman, a thin, twitch- 
ing lip, and hair well turned 
to silver. His companion was 
scarce less notable — a big, 
comely man, dressed half in the 
fashion of a soldier, yet with 
the air of one little versed in 
cities. I love to be guessing a 
man's station from his looks, 
and ere I had glanced him over, 
I had set him down in my mind 
as a country laird, as these 



84 SIR QUIXOTE. . 

folk call it. Both greeted me 
courteously, and then, as I ad- 
vanced, were silent, as if wait- 
ing for me to give some account 
of myself. 

" I have come to thank you 
for your kindness," said I awk- 
wardly, " and to let you know 
something of myself, for 'tis ill 
to be harboring folk without 
names or dwelling." 

" Tush ! " said the younger ; 
" 'twere a barbarity to leave 
anyone without, so travel-worn 
as you. The Levite in the 
Scriptures did no worse. But 
how feel you now? I trust 
your fatigue is gone." 

" I thank you a thousand 
times for your kindness. Would 
I knew how to repay it ! " 



MV COMING TO LINDEAN. 85 

" Nay, young man," said the 
elder, " give thanks not to us, 
but to the Lord who led you 
to this place. The moors are 
hard bedding, and right glad I 
am that you fell in with us 
here. 'Tis seldom we have a 
stranger with us, since my 
brother at Drumlanrig died in 
the spring o' last year. But I 
trust you are better, and that 
Anne has looked after you 
well. A maid is a blessing to 
sick folk, if a weariness to the 
hale." 

" You speak truly," I said, 
" a maid is a blessing to the 
sick. 'Tis sweet to be well 
tended when you have fared 
hardly for days. Your kind- 
ness has set me at peace with 



86 SIR QUIXOTE. 

the world again. Yesterday all 
was black before me, and now, 
I bethink me, I see a little ray 
of light." 

" 'Twas a good work," said 
the old man, " to give you hope 
and set you right with yourself, 
if so chance we have done it. 
What saith the wise man, ' He 
that hath no rule over his 
own spirit is like a city that 
is broken down and without 
walls ' ? But whence have you 
come ? We would hear your 
story." 

So I told them the whole 
tale of my wanderings, from 
my coming to Kennedy to my 
fainting fit at their own thresh- 
old. At the story of my quar- 
rel they listened eagerly, and I 



MY COM IX G TO LINDEAN. 87 

could mark their eyes flashing, 
and as I spake of my sufferings 
in the 'desert I could see sym- 
pathy in their faces. When I 
concluded, neither spake for a 
little, till the elder man broke 
silence with : 

" May God bless and protect 
you in all your goings ! Well 
I see that you are of the up- 
right in heart. It makes me 
blithe to have you in my 
house." 

The younger said nothing 
but rose and came to me. 

" M. de Rohaine," he said, 
speaking my name badly, " give 
me your hand. I honor you 
for a gentleman and a man of 
feeling." 

" And I am glad to give it 



88 SIR QUIXOTE. 

you," said I, and we clasped 
Jiands and looked into each 
other's eyes. Then we stepped 
back well satisfied. For myself 
I love to meet a man, and in 
the great-limbed young fellow 
before me I found one to my 
liking. 

" And now I must tell you 
of ourselves," said the old man, 
" for 'tis fitting that a guest 
should know his entertainers. 
This is the manse of Lindean, 
and I am the unworthy man, 
Ephraim Lambert, whom God 
hath appointed to watch over 
his flock in this place. Sore, 
sore are we troubled by evil 
men, such as you have known ; 
and my folk, from dwelling in 
decent cots, have to hide in 



MV COMING TO LINDEAM. 89 

peat-hags and the caves of the 
hills. The Lord's hand is 
heavy upon this country ; 'tis a 
time of trial, a passing through 
the furnace. God grant we be 
not found faithless ! This home 
is still left to us, and thankful 
we should be for it; and I 
demand that you dwell with 
us till you have settled on 
your course. This man," he 
went on, laying his hand on 
the shoulder of the younger, 
"is Master Henry Semple of 
Clachlands, a fine inheritance, 
all ridden and rieved by these 
devils on earth, Captain Keith's 
dragoons. Henry is of our be- 
lief, and a man of such mettle 
that the Privy Council was fain 
to send down a quartering of 



90 SIR QUIXOTE. 

soldiers to bide in his house 
and devour his substance. 
'Twas a thing no decent man 
could thole, so off he comes 
here to keep us company till 
the wind blows by. If you look 
out of the window over by the 
side of yon rig of hill, ye'll get 
a glimmer of Clachlands chim- 
neys, reeking with the smoke 
of their evil preparations. Ay, 
ay, lads, burn you your peats 
and fill up the fire with logs till 
the vent's choked, but you'll 
burn brawly yourselves some 
fine day, when your master 
gives you your wages." 

He looked out as he spoke, 
and into his kindly eyes came 
a gleam of such anger and de- 
cision as quite transfigured his 



MY COMING TO LIN DEAN. 9^ 

face and made it seem more 
like that of a troop captain 
than a peaceful minister. 

And now Master Semple 
spoke up : " God send, sir, they 
suffer for no worse a crime 
than burning my peats and fire- 
wood. I should count myself 
a sorry fellow if I made any 
complaint about a little visita- 
tion, when the hand of the 
Lord is smiting so sorely 
among my fellows. I could 
take shame to myself every 
time I eat good food or sleep 
in a decent bed, to think of 
better men creeping aneath the 
lang heather like etherts, or 
shivering on the cauld hill-side. 
There '11 be no such doings 
in your land, M. de Rohaine ? 



92 SIR QUIXOTE. 

I've heard tell of folk there like 
us, dwelling in the hills to es- 
cape the abominations of Rome. 
But perhaps," and he hesitated, 
" you are not of them ? " 

" No," said I, " I am of your 
enemies by upbringing; but I 
dearly love a brave man, where- 
ever I meet him. 'Tis poor 
religion, say I, which would 
lead one to see no virtue in 
those of another belief. There 
is one God above all." 

" Ay, you speak truly," said 
the old man ; " He has made 
of one blood all the nations of 
the earth. But I yearn to see 
you of a better way of think- 
ing. Mayhap I may yet show 
you your errors?" 

" I thank you, but I hold by 



A/y COMING TO LIN DEAN. 93 

' every man to his upbringing.' 
Each man to the creed of his 
birth. 'Tis a poor thing to be 
changing on any pretext. For, 
look you, God, who appointed 
a man his place of birth, set 
him his religion with it, and I 
hold if he but stick to it he is 
not far in error." 

I spoke warmly, but in truth I 
had thought all too little about 
such things. One who has to 
fight his way among men and 
live hardly, has, of necessity, 
little time for his devotions, 
and if he but live cleanly, his 
part is well done. Mon Dieu ! 
Who will gainsay me? 

" I fear your logic is faulty," 
said Master Semple, "■ but it is 
mighty inhospitable to be argu- 



94 S//i QUIXOTE. 

ing with a guest. See, here 
Anne comes with the lamp, and 
supper will soon be ready." 

The girl came in as he spake, 
bearing a great lamp, which she 
placed on a high shelf, and set 
about laying the table for 
supper. I had noticed her 
little at first sight, for I was 
never given to staring at maids ; 
but now, as she moved about, 
I found myself ever watching 
her. The ruddy firelight striv- 
ing with the serene glow of the 
lamp met and flickered about 
her face and hair. She was 
somewhat brown in skin, like a 
country maiden ; but there was 
no semblance of rusticity in her 
fair features and deep brown 
eyes. Her hair hung over her 



MY COMING TO LIN DEAN. 95 

neck as brown as the soft fur 
of a squirrel, and the fire filled 
it with fantastic shadows. She 
was singularly graceful in fig- 
ure, moving through the room 
and bending over the table with 
a grace which 'twas pretty to 
contemplate, 'Twas strange to 
note that when her face was 
averted one might have guessed 
her to be some village girl or 
burgher's daughter ; but as 
soon as she had turned her im- 
perial eyes on you she looked 
like a queen in a play. Her 
face was a curious one, serious 
and dignified beyond her years 
and sex, yet with odd sparkles 
of gayety dancing in her eyes 
and the corners of her rosy 
mouth. 



96 SIJ? QUIXOTE. 

Master Semple had set about 
helping her, and a pretty sight 
it was to see her reproving and 
circumventing his ckimsiness. 
'Twas not hard to see the re- 
lation between the two. The 
love-light shone in his eye 
whenever he looked toward 
her ; and she, for her part, 
seemed to thrill at his chance 
touch. One strange thing I 
noted, that, whereas in France 
two young folks could not have 
gone about the business of set- 
ting a supper-table without 
much laughter and frolic, all 
was done here as if 'twere some 
solemn ceremonial. 

To one who was still sick 
with the thought of the black 
uplands he had traversed, of 



MY COMING TO LIN DEAN. 97 

the cold, driving rain and the 
deadly bogs, the fare in the 
manse was like the apple to 
Eve in the garden. 'Twas fine 
to be eating crisp oaten cakes, 
and butter fresh from the churn, 
to be drinking sweet, warm 
milk — for we lived on the plain- 
est; and, above all, to watch 
kindly faces around you in 
place of marauders and low 
ruffians. The minister said a 
lengthy grace before and after 
the meal ; and when the table 
was cleared the servants were 
called in to evening prayer. 
Again the sight pleased me — 
the two maids with their brown 
country faces seated decently 
by the door; Anne, half in 
shadow, sitting demurely with 



98 S/J? QUIXOTE. 

Master Semple not far off, and 
at the table-head the white 
hairs of the old man bowed 
over the Bible. He read I 
know not what, for I am not so 
familiar with the Scriptures as 
I should be, and, moreover, 
Anne's grave face was a more 
entrancing study. Then we 
knelt, and he prayed to God to 
watch over us in all our ways 
and bring us at last to his pre- 
pared kingdom. Truly, when 
I arose from my knees, I felt 
more tempted to be devout 
than I have any remembrance 
of before. 

Then we sat and talked of 
this and that, and I must tell 
over all my misfortunes again 
for mademoiselle's entertain- 



Jl/y COMING TO LINDEAN. 99 

ment. She listened with open 
wonder, and thanked me with 
her marvelous eyes. Then to 
bed with a vile-smelling lamp, 
in a wide, low-ceilinged sleep- 
ing room, where the sheets were 
odorous of bog-myrtle and fresh 
as snow. Sleep is a goddess 
easy of conquest when wooed 
in such a fashion. 




CHAPTER V. 

I PLEDGE MY WORD. 

F my life at Lindean 
for the next three 
days I have no clear 
remembrance. The weather 
was dry and languid, as often 
follows a spell of rain, and the 
long hills which huddled around 
the house looked near and im- 
minent. The place was so still 
that if one shouted it seemed 
almost a profanation. 'Twas so 
Sabbath-like that I almost came 
to dislike it. Indeed, I doubt 
I should have found it irksome 



I PLEDGE MY WORD. lOl 

had there not been a brawhng 
stream in the glen, which kept 
up a continuous dashing and 
chattering. It seemed the one 
hnk between me and that far- 
away world in which not long 
agone I had been a dweller. 

The life, too, was as regular 
as in the king's court. Sharp 
at six I was awakened, and ere 
seven we were assembled for 
breakfast. Then to prayers, 
and then to the occupations of 
the day. The minister would 
be at his books or down among 
his people on some errand of 
mercy. The church had been 
long closed, for the Privy 
Council, seeing that Master 
Lambert was opposed to them, 
had commanded him to be 



I02 SIR QUIXOTE. 

silent ; and yet, mark you, so 
well was he loved in the place 
that they durst set no successor 
in his stead. They tried it once 
and a second time, but the un- 
happy man was so taken with 
fear of the people that he shook 
the dust of Lindean off his feet, 
and departed in search of a 
more hospitable dwelling. But 
the minister's mouth was shut, 
save when covertly, and with 
the greatest peril to himself, he 
would preach at a meeting of 
the hill-folk in the recesses of 
the surrounding uplands. 

The library I found no bad 
one — I who in my day have 
been considered to have some- 
thing of a taste in books. To 
be sure there was much weari- 



/ PLEDGE MY WORD. 103 

some stuff, the work of old 
divines, and huge commentaries 
on the Scriptures, written in 
Latin and plentifully inter- 
spersed with Greek and 
Hebrew. But there was good 
store of the Classics, both prose 
and poetry, — Horace, who has 
ever been my favorite, and 
Homer, who, to my thinking, is 
the finest of the ancients. 
Here, too, I found a Plato, and 
I swear I read more of him in 
the manse than I have done 
since I went through him with 
M. Clerselier, when we were 
students together in Paris. 

The acquaintance which I 
had formed with Master 
Semple speedily ripened into a 
fast friendship. I found it in 



I04 SIR QUIXOTE. 

my heart to like this great 
serious man — a bumpkin if 
you will, but a man of courage 
and kindliness. We were wont 
to take long walks, always in 
some lonely part of the country, 
and we grew more intimate in 
our conversation than I should 
ever have dreamed of. He 
would call me John, and this 
much I suffered him, to save 
my name from the barbarity of 
his pronunciation ; while in 
turn I fell to calling him 
Henry, as if we had been born 
and bred together. I found 
that he loved to hear of my 
own land and my past life, 
which, now that I think of it, 
must have had no little interest 
to one dwelling in such soli- 



I PLEDGE MY WORD. 105 

tudes. From him I heard of 
his father, of his brief term 
at the College of Edinburgh, 
which he left when the strife 
in the country grew high, and 
of his sorrow and anger at the 
sufferings of those who with- 
stood the mandate of the king. 
Though I am of the true faith, 
I think it no shame that my 
sympathy was all with these 
rebels, for had I not seen 
something of their misery my- 
self? But above all, he would 
speak of la belle Amie as one 
gentleman will tell another of 
his love, when he found that I 
was a willing listener. I could 
scarce have imagined such 
warmth of passion to exist 
in the man as he showed 



io6 SIR QUIXOTE. 

at the very mention of her 
name. 

" Oh ! " he would cry out, 
" I would die for her ; I would 
gang to the world's end to pleas- 
ure her ! I whiles think that I 
break the first commandment 
every day of my life, for I canna 
keep her a moment out of my 
thoughts, and I fear she's more 
to me than any earthly thing 
should be. I think of her at 
nicht. I see her name in every 
page of the Book. I thought 
I was bad when I was over at 
Clachlands, and had to ride 
five miles to see her ; but now 
I'm tenfold worse when I'm 
biding aside her. God grant it 
be not counted to me for sin ! " 

"Amen to that," said I. 



I PLEDGE MY WORD. 107 

'Tis a fine thing to see the love 
of a maid ; but I hold 'tis a 
finer to witness the passion of 
a strong man. 

Yet, withal, there was some- 
thing sinister about the house 
and its folk which to me was 
the fly in the ointment. They 
were kindness and charity 
incarnate, but they were cold 
and gloomy to boot, lacking 
any grace or sprightliness in 
their lives. I find it hard to 
write this, for their goodness to 
me was beyond recompense ; 
yet I must set it down, since in 
some measure it has to do with 
my story. The old man would 
look at me at times and sigh, 
nor did I think it otherwise 
than fitting, till I found from 



lo8 ^7^ QUIXOTE. 

his words that the sighs were 
on account of my own spiritual 
darkness. I have no quarrel 
with any man for wishing to 
convert me, but to sigh at one's 
approach seems a doleful way 
of setting about it. Then he 
would break out from his 
wonted quietness at times to 
rail at his foes, calling down 
the wrath of Heaven to blight 
them. Such a fit was always 
followed by a painful exhaus- 
tion, which left him as weak 
as a child, ^nd shivering like 
a leaf. I bitterly cursed the 
state of a country which could 
ruin the peace of mind of a 
man so sweet-tempered by 
nature, and make him the 
sport of needless rage. 'Twas 



/ PLEDGE MY WORD. 109 

pitiful to see him creep off 
to his devotions after any 
such outbreak, penitent and 
ashamed. Even to his daugh- 
ter he was often cruelly sharp, 
and would call her to account 
for the merest trifle. 

As for Master Henry, what 
shall I say of him ? I grew to 
love him like my own brother, 
yet I no more understood him 
than the Sultan of Turkey. 
He had strange fits of gloom, 
begotten, I must suppose, of 
the harsh country and his 
many anxieties, in which he 
was more surly than a bear, 
speaking little, and that mainly 
from the Scriptures. I have 
one case in my memory, when, 
had I not been in a sense his 



no SIR QUIXOTE. 

guest, I had scarce refrained 
from quarreling. 'Twas in the 
afternoon of the second day, 
when we returned weary from 
one of our long wanderings. 
Anne tripped forth into the 
autumn sunlight singing a 
catch, a simple glee of the 
village folk. 

" Peace, Anne," says Master 
Henry savagely; "it little be- 
comes you to be singing in 
these days, unless it be a godly 
psalm. Keep your songs for 
better times." 

"What ails you?" I ven- 
tured to say. " You praised her 
this very morning for singing 
the self-same verses." 

"And peace, you," he says 
roughly, as he entered the 



/ PLEDGE MY WORD, m 

house; "if the lass hearkened 
to your accursed creed, I should 
have stronger words for her." 

My breath was fairly taken 
from me at this incredible rude- 
ness. I had my hand on my 
sword, and had I been in my 
own land we should soon have 
settled it. As it was, I shut my 
lips firmly and choked down my 
choler. 

Yet I cannot leave with this 
ill word of the man. That very 
night he talked with me so 
pleasingly, and with so friendly 
a purport, that I conceived he 
must have been scarce himself 
when he so insulted me. In- 
deed, I discerned two natures 
in the man — one, hard, satur- 
nine, fanatically religious ; the 



112 SIR QUIXOTE. 

other, genial and kindly, like 
that of any other gentleman of 
family. The former I attributed 
to the accident of his fortune ; 
the second I held to be the 
truer, and in my thoughts of him 
still think of it as the only one. 

But I must pass to the events 
which befell on the even of 
the third day, and wrought so 
momentous a change in the life 
at Lindean. 'Twas just at the 
lighting of the lamp, when Anne 
and the minister and myself sat 
talking in the little sitting room, 
that Master Henry entered with 
a look of great concern on his 
face, and beckoned the elder 
man out. 

" Andrew Gibb is here," said 
he. 



I PLEDGE MY WORD. I13 

" And what may Andrew 
Gibb be wanting?" asked the 
old man, glancing up sharply. 

" He brings nae guid news, I 
fear, but he'll tell them to none 
but you ; so hasten out, sir, to 
the back, for he's come far, and 
he's ill at the waiting." 

The twain were gone for 
some time, and in their absence 
I could hear high voices in the 
back end of the house, con- 
versing as on some matter of 
deep import. Anne fetched the 
lamp from the kitchen and 
trimmed it with elaborate care, 
lighting it and setting it in its 
place. Then, at last, the min- 
ister returned alone. 

I was shocked at the sight of 
him as he re-entered the room. 



114 SIR QUIXOTE. 

His face was ashen pale and 
tightly drawn about the lips. 
He crept to a chair and leaned 
his head on the table, speaking 
no word. Then he burst out 
of a sudden into a storm of 
pleading. 

"O Lord God," he cried, 
"thou hast aye been good to 
us, thou has kept us weel, and 
bielded us frae the wolves who 
have sought to devour us. Oh, 
dinna leave us now. It's no' 
for mysel' or Henry that I care. 
We're men, and can warstle 
through ills ; but oh, what am 
I to dae wi' the bit helpless 
lassie ? It's awfu' to have to 
gang oot among hills and bogs 
to bide, but it's ten times waur 
when ye dinna ken what's gaun 



I PLEDGE MY WORD. 115 

to come to your bairn. Hear 
me, O Lord, and grant me 
my request. I've no' been a' 
that I micht have been, but oh, 
if I ha'e tried to serve thee at 
a', dinna let this danger over- 
whelm us! " 

He had scarcely finished, and 
was still sitting with bowed 
head, when Master Henry also 
entered the room. His eyes 
were filled with an austere 
frenzy, such as I had learned 
to look for. 

"Ay, sir," said he, '"tis a 
time for us a' to be on our 
knees. But ha'e courage, and 
dinna let us spoil the guid 
cause by our weak mortal com- 
plaining. Is't no' better to be 
hunkering in a moss-hole and 



ii6 s/j;: QUIXOTE. 

communing with the Lord than 
waxing fat like Jeshurun in car- 
nal corruption ? Call on God's 
name, but no' wi' sighing, but 
wi' exaltation, for He hath bid- 
den us to a mighty heritage." 

" Ye speak brave and true, 
Henry, and I'm wi' your every 
word. But tell me what's to 
become o' my bairn? What 
will Anne dae ? I once thought 
there was something atween 

you " He stopped abruptly 

and searched the face of the 
young man. 

At his words Master Semple 
had started as under a lash. 
" Oh, my God," he cried, " I had 
forgotten ! Anne, Anne, my 
dearie, we canna leave ye, and 
you to be my wife. This is a 



/ PLEDGE M V WORD. 1 1 7 

sore trial of faith, sir, and I 
misdoubt I canna stand it. To 
leave ye to the tender mercies 
o' a' the hell-hounds o' dragoons 
— oh, I canna dae't!" 

He clapped his hand to his 
forehead and walked about the 
room like a man distraught. 

And now I put in my word. 
" What ails you, Henry? Tell 
me, for I am sore grieved to see 
you in such perplexity." 

"Ails me?" he repeated. 
" Aye, I will tell ye what ails 
me"; and he drew his chair 
before me. " Andrew Gibb's 
come ower frae the Ruthen wi' 
shure news that a warrant's oot 
against us baith, for being at 
the preaching on Callowa' Muir, 
'Twas an enemy did it, and now 



Il8 SIR QUIXOTE. 

the soldiers are coming at ony 
moment to lay hands on us and 
take us off to Embro'. Then 
there '11 be but a short lease of 
life for us ; and unless we take 
to the hills this very nicht we 
may be ower late in the morn- 
ing. I'm wae to tak' sae auld 
a man as Master Lambert to 
wet mosses, but there's nothing 
else to be dune. But what's to 
become o' Anne? Whae's to 
see to her, when the dragoons 
come riding and cursing about 
the toon? Oh, it's a terrible 
time, John. Pray to God, if ye 
never prayed before, to let it 
pass." 

Mademoiselle had meantime 
spoken never a word, but had 
risen and gone to her father's 



/ PLEDGE MY WORD. I19 

chair and put her arms around 
his neck. Her presence seemed 
to cheer the old man, for he 
ceased mourning and looked up, 
while she sat, still as a statue, 
with her grave, lovely face 
against his. But Master Scra- 
pie's grief was pitiful to witness. 
He rocked himself to and fro 
in his chair, with his arms 
folded and a set, white face. 
Every now and then he would 
break into a cry like a stricken 
animal. The elder man was 
the first to counsel patience. 

" Stop, Henry," says he ; " it's 
ill-befitting Christian folk to set 
sic an example. We've a' got 
our troubles, and if ours are 
heavier than some, it's no' for 
us to complain. Think o' the 



I20 SIR QUIXOTE. 

many years o' grace we've had. 
There's nae doubt the Lord 
will look after the bairn, for 
he's a guid Shepherd for the 
feckless." 

But now of a sudden a 
thought seemed to strike 
Henry, and he was on his feet 
in a twinkling and by my side. 

" John," he almost screamed 
in my ear, " John, I'm going to 
ask ye for the greatest service 
that ever man asked. Ye'll no' 
say me nay?" 

" Let me hear it," said L 

" Will you bide wi' the lass ? 
You're a man o' birth, and I'll 
swear to it, a man o' honor. I 
can trust you as I would trust 
my ainbrither. Oh, man,dinna 
deny me ! It's the last hope 



I PLEDGE MY WORD. 121 

I ha'e, for if ye refuse, we maun 
e'en gang to the hills and leave 
the pair thing alane. Oh, ye 
canna say me nae ! Tell me 
that ye'll do my asking." 

I was so thunderstruck at 
the request that I scarce could 
think for some minutes. Con- 
sider, was it not a strange thing 
to be asked to stay alone in 
a wild moorland house with 
another man's betrothed, for 
Heaven knew how many weary 
days? My life and prospects 
were none so cheerful for me to 
despise anything, nor so varied 
that I might pick and choose ; 
but yet 'twas dreary, if no worse, 
to look forward to any length 
of time in this desolate place. 
I was grateful for the house as 



122 SIR QUIXOTE. 

a shelter by the way, yet I 
hoped to push on and get rid, 
as soon as might be, of this 
accursed land. 

But was I not bound by all 
the ties of gratitude to grant 
my host's request? They had 
found me fainting at their door, 
they had taken me in, and 
treated me to their best; I was 
bound in common honor to do 
something to requite their kind- 
ness. And let me add, though 
not often a man subject to any 
feelings of compassion, what- 
ever natural bent I had this way 
having been spoiled in the wars, 
I nevertheless could not refrain 
from pitying the distress of 
that strong man before me. I 
felt tenderly toward him, more 



I PLEDGE MY WORD. 123 

SO than I had felt to anyone for 
many a day. 

All these thoughts raced 
through my head in the short 
time while Master Henry stood 
before me. The look in his 
eyes, the pained face of the 
old man, and the sight of Anne, 
so fair and helpless, fixed my 
determination. 

" I am bound to you in grati- 
tude," said I, "and I would 
seek to repay you. I will 
bide in the house, if so you 
will, and be the maid's pro- 
tector. God grant I may be 
faithful to my trust, and may 
he send a speedy end to your 
exile ?" 

So 'twas all finished in a few 
minutes, and I was fairly em- 



124 S/H QUIXOTE. 

barked upon the queerest enter- 
prise of my life. For myself I 
sat dazed and meditative ; as 
for the minister and Master 
Semple, one-half of the burden 
seemed to be lifted from their 
minds. I was amazed at the 
trusting natures of these men, 
who had habited all their days 
with honest folk till they con- 
ceived all to be as worthy as 
themselves. I felt, I will own, 
a certain shrinking from the 
responsibility of the task ; but 
the Rubicon had been crossed 
and there was no retreat. 

Of the rest of that night how 
shall I tell ? There was such a 
bustling and pother as I had 
never seen in any house since 



I PLEDGE MV WORD. 125 

the day that my brother Denis 
left Rohaine for the Dutch wars. 
There was a running and scurry- 
ing about, a packing of food, a 
seeking of clothes, for the fugi- 
tives must be off before the first 
lig-ht. Anne went about with 
a pale, tearful face ; and 'twas a 
matter of no surprise, for to see 
a father, a man frail and fallen 
in years, going out to the chill 
moorlands in the early autumn 
till no man knew when, is a 
grievous thing for a young maid. 
Her lover was scarce in so dire 
a case, for he was young and 
strong, and well used to the life 
of the hills. For him there 
was hope ; for the old man but 
a shadow. My heart grew as 
bitter as gall at the thought of 



126 SIR QUIXOTE. 

the villains who brought it 
about. 

How shall I tell of the morn- 
ing, when the faint light was 
flushing the limits of the sky, 
and the first call of a heath- 
bird broke the silence ! 'Twas 
sad to see these twain with 
their bundles (the younger 
carrying the elder's share) 
creep through the heather to- 
ward the hills. They affected 
a cheerful resolution, assumed 
to comfort Anne's fears and 
sorrow ; but I could mark be- 
neath it a settled despair. 
The old man prayed at the 
threshold, and clasped his 
daughter many times, kissing 
her and giving her his blessing. 
The younger, shaken with 



/ PLEDGE MY WORD. 127 

great sobs, bade a still more 
tender farewell, and then 
started off abruptly to hide his 
grief. Anne and I, from the 
door, watched their figures dis- 
appear over the crest of the 
ridge, and then went in, sober 
and full of angry counsels. 

The soldiers came about an 
hour before mid-day— a band 
from Clachlands, disorderly 
rufiians, commanded by a 
mealy-faced captain. They 
were a scurrilous set, their 
faces bloated with debauchery 
and their clothes in no very 
decent ojder. As one might 
have expected, they were 
mightily incensed at finding 
their bird flown, and fell to 



128 SIR QUIXOTE. 

cursing each other with great 
good-will. They poked their 
low-bred faces into every nook 
in the house and outbuildings ; 
and when at length they had 
satisfied themselves that there 
was no hope from that quarter, 
they had all the folk of the 
dwelling out on the green and 
questioned them one by one. 
The two serving-lasses were 
stanch, and stoutly denied all 
knowledge of their master's 
whereabouts — which was in- 
deed no more than the truth. 
One of the two, Jean Crichope 
by name, when threatened 
with ill-treatment if she did not 
speak, replied valiantly that 
she would twist the neck of 
the first scoundrelly soldier 



I PLEDGE MY WORD. 129 

who dared to lay finger on her. 
This I doubt not she could 
have performed, for she was a 
very daughter of Anak. 

As for Anne and myself, 
we answered according to our 
agreement. They were very 
curious to know my errand 
there and my name and birth ; 
and when I bade them keep 
their scurvy tongues from de- 
filing a gentleman's house, 
they were none so well pleased. 
I am not a vain man, and I 
do not set down the thing I 
am going to relate as at all 
redounding to my credit ; I 
merely tell it as an incident in 
my tale. 

The captain at last grew 
angry. He saw that the law 



13° STR QUIXOTE. 

was powerless to touch us, and 
that nought remained for him 
but to ride to the hills in 
pursuit of the fugitives. This 
he seemed to look upon as a 
hardship, being a man to all 
appearance more fond of the 
bottle and pasty than a hill 
gallop. At any rate he grew 
wroth, and addressed to Anne 
a speech so full of gross rude- 
ness that I felt it my duty to 
interfere. 

" Look you here, sir," said I, 
" I am here, in the first place, 
to see that no scoundrel mal- 
treats this lady. I would ask 
you, therefore, to be more 
civil in your talk or to get 
down and meet me in fair 
fight. These gentlemen," and 



/ PLEDGE MY WORD. 131 

I made a mocking bow to his 
company, " will, I am assured, 
see an honest encounter." 

The man flushed under his 
coarse skin. His reputation 
was at stake. There was no 
other course open but to take 
up my challenge. 

"You, you bastard French- 
man," he cried, "would you 
dare to insult a captain of the 
king's dragoons? I' faith, I 
will teach you better manners ;" 
and he came at me with his 
sword in a great heat. The 
soldiers crowded round like 
children to see a cock-fight. 

In an instant we crossed 
swords and fell to ; I with the 
sun in my eyes and on the 
lower ground. The combat 



132 SIR QUIXOTE. 

was not of long duration. In 
a trice I found that he was a 
mere child in my hands, a bar- 
barian who used his sword like 
a quarter-staff, not even putting 
strength into his thrusts. 

" Enough ! " I cried ; "this is 
mere fooling;" and with a 
movement which any babe in 
arms might have checked, 
twirled his blade from his 
hands and sent it spinning over 
the grass. " Follow your 
sword, and learn two things 
before you come back — civility 
to maids and the rudiments 
of sword-play. Bah ! Begone 
with you ! " 

Some one of his men laughed, 
and I think they were secretly 
glad at their tyrant's discomfi- 



I PLEDGE MY WORD. 133 

ture. No more need be said. 
He picked up his weapon and 
rode away, vowing vengeance 
upon me and swearing at every 
trooper behind him. I cared 
not a straw for him, for de- 
spite his bravado I knew that 
the fear of death was in his 
cowardly heart, and that we 
should be troubled no more by 
his visitations. 




CHAPTER VI. 

IDLE DAYS. 

HAVE heard it said 
by wise folk in France 
that the autumn is of 
all seasons of the year the most 
trying to the health of a soldier ; 
since, for one accustomed to the 
heat of action and the fire and 
fury of swift encounter, the de- 
cay of summer, the moist, rot- 
ting air, and the first chill pre- 
ludes of winter are hard to 
stand. This may be true of 
our own autumn days, but in 
the north country 'twas other- 
134 



IDLE DAYS. 135 

wise. For there the weather 
was as sharp and clear as spring, 
and the only signs of the season 
were the red leaves and the 
brown desolate moors. Lin- 
dean was built on the slope of 
the hills, with the steeps behind 
it, and a vista of level land to 
the front: so one could watch 
from the window the red woods 
of the low country, and see the 
stream, turgid with past rains, 
tearing through the meadows. 
The sun rose in the morning in 
a blaze of gold and crimson; 
the days were temperately 
warm, the afternoons bright, 
and the evening another pro- 
cession of colors. 'Twas all so 
beautiful that I found it hard 
to keep my thoughts at all on 



136 SIR QUIXOTE. 

the wanderers in the hills and 
to think of the house as under 
a dark shadow. 

And if 'twas hard to do this, 
'twas still harder to look upon 
Anne as a mourning daughter. 
For the first few days she had 
been pale and silent, going 
about her household duties as 
was her wont, speaking rarely, 
and then but to call me to 
meals. But now the pain of 
the departure seemed to have 
gone, and though still quiet as 
ever, there was no melancholy 
in her air ; but with a certain 
cheerful gravity she passed in 
and out in my sight. At first 
I had had many plans to con- 
sole her; judge then of my 
delight to find them needless. 



IDLE DAYS. 137 

She was a brave maid, I 
thought, and Httle like the com- 
mon, who could see the folly of 
sighing, and set herself to hope 
and work as best she could.. 

The days passed easily 
enough for me, for I could take 
Saladin and ride through the 
countryside, keeping always far 
from Clachlands; or the books 
in the house would stand me in 
good stead for entertainment. 
With the evenings 'twas differ- 
ent. When the lamp was lit, 
and the fire burned, 'twas hard 
to find some method to make 
the hours go by. I am not a 
man easily moved, as I have 
said ; and yet I took shame to 
myself to think of the minister 
and Master Henry in the cold 



138 SIR QUIXOTE. 

bogs, and Anne and myself 
before a great blaze. Again and 
again I could have kicked the 
logs off to ease my conscience, 
and was only held back by 
respect for the girl. But, of a 
surety, if she had but given me 
the word, I would have been 
content to sit in the fireless 
room and enjoy the approval 
of my heart. 

She played no chess ; indeed, 
I do not believe there was a 
board in the house ; nor was 
there any other sport where- 
with to beguile the long even- 
ings. Reading she cared little 
for, and but for her embroidery 
work I know not what she 
would have set her hand to. 
So, as she worked with her 



IDLE DAYS. 139 

threads I tried to enliven the 
time with some account of my 
adventures in past days, and 
some of the old gallant tales 
with which I was familiar. She 
heard me gladly, listening as no 
comrade by the tavern-board 
ever listened ; and though, for 
the sake of decency, I was 
obliged to leave out many of 
the more diverting, yet I flatter 
myself I won her interest and 
made the time less dreary. I 
ranged over all my own exper- 
ience and the memory of those 
tales which I had heard from 
others — and those who know 
anything of me know that that 
is not small. I told her of ex- 
ploits in the Indies and Spain, 
in Germany and the Low Coun- 



I40 SIR QUIXOTE. 

tries, and in far Muscovy, and 
'twas no little pleasure to see 
her eager eyes dance and sparkle 
at a jest, or grow sad at a sor- 
sowful episode. Ma vie ! She 
had wonderful eyes — the most 
wonderful I have ever seen. 
They were gray in the morning 
and brown at noonday ; now 
sparkling, but for the most part 
fixedly grave and serene. 'Twas 
for such eyes, I fancy, that men 
have done all the temerarious 
deeds concerning womankind 
which history records. 

It must not be supposed that 
our life was a lively one, or 
aught approaching gayety. The 
talking fell mostly to my lot, 
for she had a great habit of 
silence, acquired from her 



IDLE DA YS. 141 

lonely dwelling-place. Yet I 
moved her more than once to 
talk about herself. 

I heard of her mother, a dis- 
tant cousin of Master Semple's 
father; of her death when 
Anne was but a child of seven ; 
and of the solitary years since, 
spent in study under her 
father's direction, in household 
work, or in acts of mercy to 
the poor. She spoke of her 
father often, and always in such 
a way that I could judge of a 
great affection between them. 
Of her lover I never heard, 
and, now that I think the 
matter over, 'twas no more 
than fitting. Once, indeed, I 
stumbled upon his name by 
chance in the course of talk, 



142 SIR QUIXOTE. 

but as she blusheci and started, 
I vowed to fight shy of it ever 
after. 

As we knew well before, no 
message from the hills could 
be sent, since the moors were 
watched as closely as the gate- 
way of a prison. This added 
to the unpleasantness of the 
position of each of us. In 
Anne's case there was the 
harassing doubt about the 
safety of her kinsfolk, that 
sickening anxiety which saps 
the courage even of strong 
men. Also, it rendered my 
duties ten times harder. For, 
had there been any communi- 
cation between the father or 
the lover and the maid, I 
should have felt less like a St. 



IDLE DAYS. 143 

Anthony in the desert. As it 
was, I had to fight with a terri- 
ble sense of responsibiHty and 
unhmited power for evil, and 
God knows how hard that is 
for any Christian to strive 
with, 'Twould have been no 
very hard thing to shut myself 
in a room, or bide outside all 
day, and never utter a word to 
Anne save only the most neces- 
sary; but I was touched by the 
girl's loneliness and sorrows, 
and, moreover, I conceived it 
to be a strange way of execu- 
ting a duty, to flee from it alto- 
gether. I was there to watch 
over her, and I swore by the 
Holy Mother to keep the very 
letter of my oath. 

And so the days dragged by 



144 SIR QUIXOTE. 

till September was all but gone. 
I have always loved the sky 
and the vicissitudes of weather, 
and to this hour the impres- 
sion of these autumn evenings 
is clear fixed on my mind. 
Strangely enough for that 
north country, they were not 
cold, but mild, with a sort of 
acrid mildness ; a late summer, 
with the rigors of winter under- 
lying, like a silken glove over a 
steel gauntlet. 

One such afternoon I remem- 
ber, when Anne sat busy at 
some needlework on the low 
bench by the door, and I came 
and joined her. She had won- 
derful grace of body, and 'twas 
a pleasure to watch every move- 
ment of her arm as she stitched. 



IDLE DAYS. 145 

I sat silently regarding the land- 
scape, the woods streaking the 
bare fields, the thin outline of 
hills beyond, the smoke rising 
from Clachlands' chimneys, and 
above all, the sun firing the 
great pool in the river, and 
flaming among clouds in the 
west. Something of the spirit 
of the place seemed to have 
entered into the girl, for she 
laid aside her needlework after 
a while and gazed with brim- 
ming eyes on the scene. So 
we sat, feasting our eyes on the 
picture, each thinking strange 
thoughts, I doubt not. By 
and by she spoke. 

" Is France, that you love so 
well, more beautiful than this,M. 
de Rohaine?" she asked timidly. 



146 SIJ^ QUIXOTE. 

" Ay, more beautiful, but not 
like this ; no, not like this." 

"And what is it like? I 
have never seen any place other 
than this." 

'' Oh, how shall I tell of it ? " 
I cried. " 'Tis more fair than 
words. We have no rough 
hills like these, nor torrents like 
the Lin there ; but there is a 
great broad stream by Rohaine, 
as smooth as a mill-pond, where 
you can row in the evenings, 
and hear the lads and lasses 
singing love songs. Then 
there are great quiet meadows, 
where the kine browse, where 
the air is so still that one can 
sleep at a thought. There are 
woods, too — ah ! such woods — 
stretching up hill, and down 



IDLE DAYS. 147 

dale, as green as spring can 
make them, with long avenues 
where men may ride ; and, per- 
haps, at the heart of all, some 
old chateau, all hung with 
vines and creepers, where the 
peaches ripen on the walls and 
the fountain plashes all the 
summer's day. Bah ! I can 
hardly bear to think on it, 'tis 
so dear and homelike ; " and 
I turned away suddenly, for 
I felt my voice catch in my 
throat. 

"What hills are yonder?" 
I asked abruptly, to hide my 
feelings. 

Anne looked up. 

" The hills beyond the little 
green ridge you mean ? " she 
says. "That will be over by 



148 SI A' QUIXOTE. 

Eskdalemuir and the top of 
the Ettrick Water. I have 
heard my father speak often of 
them, for they say that many 
of the godly find shelter there." 
" Many of the godly ! " 
I turned round sharply, 
though what there was in the 
phrase to cause wonder I can- 
not see. She spoke but as she 
had heard the men of her house 
speak ; yet the words fell 
strangely on my ears, for by a 
curious process of thinking I 
had already begun to separate 
the girl from the rest of the 
folk in the place, and look on 
her as something nearer in 
sympathy to myself. Faugh ? 
that is not the way to put it. 
I mean that she had listened so 



IDLE DAYS. 149 

much to my tales that I had 
all but come to look upon her 
as a countrywoman of mine. 

"Are you dull here, Anne?" 
I asked, for I had come to use 
the familiar name, and she in 
turn would sometimes call me 
Jean— and very prettily it sat 
on her tongue. " Do you never 
wish to go elsewhere and see 
the world ? " 

" Nay," she said. " I had 
scarce thought about the 
world at all. 'Tis a place I 
have little to do with, and I 
am content to dwell here for- 
ever, if it be God's will. But I 
should love to see your France, 
that you speak of." 

This seemed truly a desire 
for gratifying which there was 



150 SIR QUIXOTE. 

little chance ; so I changed 
the subject of our converse, 
and asked her if she ever sang. 
" Ay, I have learned to sing 
two or three songs, old ballads 
of the countryside, for though 
my father like it little, Henry 
takes a pleasure in hearing 
them. I will sing you one if 
you wish it." And when I 
bade her do so, she laid down 
her work, which she had taken 
up again, and broke into a curi- 
ous plaintive melody. I cannot 
describe it. 'Twould be as 
easy to describe the singing of 
the wind in the tree-tops. It 
minded me, I cannot tell how, 
of a mountain burn, falling 
into pools and rippling over 
little shoals of gravel. Now 



SIR QUIXOTE. 151 

'twas full and strong, and now 
'twas so eerie and wild that it 
was more like a curlew's note 
than any human thing. The 
story was about a knight who 
sailed to Norway on some 
king's errand and never re- 
turned, and of his lady who 
waited long days at home, 
weeping for him who should 
never come back to her, I did 
not understand it fully, for 
'twas in an old patois of the 
country, but I could feel its 
beauty. When she had finished 
the tears stood in my eyes, and 
I thought of the friends I had 
left, whom I might see no more. 
But when I looked at her, to 
my amazement, there was no 
sign of feeling in her face. 



152 SIR QUIXOTE. 

" 'Tis a song I have sung 
often," she said, " but I do not 
like it. 'Tis no better than the 
ringing of a bell at a funeral." 

" Then," said I, wishing to 
make her cheerful, " I will sing 
you a gay song of my own 
country. The folk dance to it 
on the Sunday nights at Ro- 
haine, when blind Rene plays 
the fiddle." So I broke into 
the " May song," with its lilting 
refrain. 

Anne listened intently, her 
face full of pleasure, and at the 
second verse she began to beat 
the tune with her foot. She, 
poor thing, had never danced, 
had never felt the ecstasy of 
motion ; but since all mankind 
is alike in nature, her blood 



IDLE DAYS. 153 

stirred at the tune. So I sang 
her another chanson, this time 
an old love ballad, and then 
again a war song. But by this 
time the darkness was growing 
around us, so we must needs 
re-enter the house ; and as I 
followed I could hear her 
humming the choruses with 
a curious delight. 

"So ho, Mistress Anne," 
thought I, " you are not the 
little country mouse that I had 
thought you, but as full of 
spirit as a caged hawk. Faith, 
the town would make a brave 
lass of you, were you but 
there ! " 

From this hour I may date 
the beginning of the better un- 
derstanding — I might almost 



154 SI/^ QUIXOTE. 

call it friendship— between the 
two of us. She had been bred 
among moorland solitudes, and 
her sole companions had been 
solemn praying folk ; yet, to my 
wonder, I found in her a nature 
loving gayety and mirth, songs 
and bright colors — a grace 
which her grave deportment did 
but the more set off. So she 
came soon to look at me with 
a kindly face, doing little acts 
of kindness every now and then 
in some way or other, which I 
took to be the return which she 
desired to make for my clumsy 
efforts to please her. 




CHAPTER VII. 

A DAUGHTER OF HERODIAS. 

HE days at Lindean 
dragged past, and the 
last traces of summer 
began to disappear from the 
face of the hills. The bent 
grew browner, the trees more 
ragged, and the torrent below 
more turgid and boisterous. 
Yet no word came from the 
hills, and, sooth to tell, we 
almost ceased to look for it. 
*Twas not that we had forgot- 
ten the minister and Master 
Semple in their hiding, for the 

I5S 



156 SIR QUIXOTE. 

thought of them was often at 
hand to sadden me, and Anne, 
I must suppose, had many anx- 
ious meditations ; but our Hfe 
at Lindean was so peaceful and 
removed from any hint of vio- 
lence that danger did not come 
before our minds in terrible 
colors. When the rain beat at 
night on the window, and the 
wind howled round the house, 
then our hearts would smite us 
for living in comfort when our 
friends were suffering the furi- 
ous weather. But when the 
glorious sun-lit morning had 
come, and we looked over the 
landscape, scarce free from the 
magic of dawn, then we counted 
it no hardship to be on the hills. 
And rain came so seldom dur- 



DA UGHTER OF HERODIA S. 1 5 7 

ing that time, and the sun so 
often, that the rigor of the hill- 
life did not appal us. 

This may account for the way 
in which the exiles slipped from 
our memories for the greater 
part of the day. For myself I 
say nothing — 'twas but natural ; 
but from Anne I must confess 
that I expected a greater show 
of sorrow. To look at her you 
would say that she was bur- 
dened with an old grief, so seri- 
ous was her face ; but when she 
would talk, then you might see 
how little her heart was taken 
up with the troubles of her 
house and the care for her 
father and lover. The girl to 
me was a puzzle, which I gave 
up all attempting to solve. 



158 SI/? QUIXOTE. 

When I had first come to Lin- 
dean, lo ! she was demure and 
full of filial affection, and 
tender to her lover. Now, 
when I expected to find her 
sorrowful and tearful at all 
times, I found her quiet indeed, 
but instinct with a passion for 
beauty and pleasure and all the 
joys of life. Yet ever and anon 
she would take a fit of solemnity, 
and muse with her chin poised 
on her hand ; and I doubt not 
that at such times she was 
thinking of her father and her 
lover in their manifold perils. 

One day the rain came again 
and made the turf plashy and 
sodden, and set the Lin roaring 
in his gorge. I had beguiled 
the morning by showing Anne 



DA UGHTER OF HEROD I A S. 1 5 9 

the steps of dancing, and she 
had proved herself a ready- 
pupil. To pleasure her I 
danced the sword-dance, which 
can only be done by those who 
have great dexterity of motion ; 
and I think I may say that I 
acquitted myself well. The girl 
stood by in wonderment, look- 
ing at me with a pleasing mix- 
ture of surprise and delight. 
She had begun to look 
strangely at me of late. Every 
now and then when I lifted my 
head I would find her great 
eyes resting on me, and at my 
first glance she would withdraw 
them. They were strange eyes 
— a mingling of the fawn and 
the tiger. 

As I have said, in a little 



i6o SIR QUIXOTE. 

time she had acquired some 
considerable skill, and moved as 
gracefully as though she had 
learned it from her childhood, 
while I whistled bars of an old 
dancing tune. She had a little 
maid who attended her, — Eff 
she called her, — and the girl 
stood by to watch while Anne 
did my bidding. Then when 
we were all wearied of the 
sport, I fell to thinking of some 
other play, and could find none. 
'Twas as dull as ditch-water, till 
the child Eff, by a good chance, 
spoke of fishing. She could 
get her father's rod and hooks, 
she said, for he never used them 
now ; and I might try my luck 
in the Lin Water. There were 
good trout there, it seemed, and 



DAUGHTER OF HERODIAS. i6i 

the choice time of taking them 
was in the autumn floods. 

Now I have ever been some- 
thing of a fisherman, for many 
an hour have I spent by the big 
fish pond at Rohaine. So I 
got the tackle of Eff's father- 
rude enough it was in all con- 
science — and in the early after- 
noon I set out to the sport. 
Below the house and beyond 
the wood the Lin foams in a 
deep gully, falling over horrid 
cascades into great churning 
pools, or diving beneath the 
narrow rocks. But above the 
ravine there is a sudden change. 
The stream flows equably 
through a flat moor in sedgy 
deeps and bright shimmering 
streams. Thither I purposed 



l62 SIR QUIXOTE. 

to go, for I am no lover of the 
awesome black caldrons, which 
call to a man's mind visions of 
drowned bodies and pits which 
have no ending. On the moor 
with the wind blowing about 
one 'twas a pleasure to be, but 
faugh ! no multitude of fish 
was worth an hour in that dis- 
mal chasm. 

I had not great success, and 
little wonder, for my leisurely- 
ways were ill suited for the alert 
mountain fish. My time was 
spent in meditating on many 
things, but most of all on the 
strange case in which I found 
myself. For in truth my posi- 
tion was an odd one as ever 
man was in. 

Here was I bound by my 



DA UGH TER OF HERODIA S. 163 

word of honor to bide in the 
house and protect its inmates 
till that indefinite time when its 
master might return. There was 
no fear of money, for the min- 
ister had come of a good stock, 
and had more gear than is usual 
Avith one of his class. But 
'tw'as an evil thing to look for- 
ward to — to spend my days in a 
lonely manse, and wait the end 
of a persecution which showed 
no signs of ending. 

But the mere discomfort was 
nothing had it not been for two 
delicate scruples which came to 
torment me. Imprimis, 'twas 
more than any man of honor 
could do to dwell in warmth 
and plenty, while his entertain- 
ers were languishing for lack of 



1 64 SIR QUIXOTE. 

food or shivering with cold in 
the hags and holes of the moun- 
tains. I am a man tolerably- 
hardened by war and travel, yet 
I could never abide to lie in bed 
on a stormy night or to eat my 
food of a sharp morning when I 
thought of the old man dying, 
it might be, unsheltered and 
forlorn. Item, there was the 
matter of the girl ; and I cannot 
tell how heavy the task had 
come to lie on my shoulders. I 
had taken the trust of one whom 
I thought to be a staid country 
lass, and lo ! I had found her as 
full of human passion as any 
lady of the court. 'Twas like 
some g-room who offers to break 
a horse, and finds it too stiff in 
temper. I had striven to do 



DA UGHTER OF HEROD I A S. 1 65 

my duty toward her and make 
her hfe less wearisome, and I 
had succeeded all too well. 
For I marked that in the 
days just past she had come to 
regard me with eyes too kindly 
by half. When I caught her 
unawares, and saw the curious 
look on her face, I could have 
bitten my tongue out with 
regret, for I saw the chasm to 
whose brink I had led her. I 
will take my oath there was no 
thought of guile in the maid, 
for she was as innocent as a 
child ; but 'tis such who are 
oftentimes the very devil, since 
their inexperience adds an edge 
to their folly. 

Thinking such thoughts, I 
fished up the Lin Water till the 



1 66 S/j? QUIXOTE. 

afternoon was all but past, and 
the sunset began to glimmer in 
the bog-pools. My mind was a 
whirl of emotions, and no plan 
or order could I conceive. But — • 
and this one thing I have often 
marked, that the weather curi- 
ously affected my temper — the 
soft evening light brought with 
it a calm which eased me in the 
conflict. 'Tis hard to wrangle 
in spirit when the west is a flare 
of crimson, and later when each 
blue hill stands out sharp against 
the yellow sky. My way led 
through the great pine wood 
above the Lin gorge, thence 
over a short spit of heath to the 
hill path and the ordered shrub- 
bery of the manse. 'Twas fine 
to see the tree stems stand out 



DA UGH TER OF HEROD I A S. 167 

red against the gathering dark- 
^ ness, while their thick ever- 
green heads were blazing like 
flambeaux. A startled owl 
drove past, wavering among the 
trunks. The air was so still that 
the light and color seemed all 
but audible, and indeed the dis- 
tant rumble of the falling stream 
seemed the interpretation to 
the ears of the vision which the 
eyes beheld. I love such sights, 
and 'tis rarely enough that we 
see them in France, for it takes 
a stormy upland country to 
show to its full the sinking of 
the sun. The heath with its 
dead heather, when I came on 
it, seemed alight, as happens in 
March, so I have heard, when 
the shepherds burn the moun- 



1 68 s/7i QUIXOTE. 

tain grass. But in the manse 
garden was the choicest sight, 
for there the fading hght 
seemed drawn to a point and 
blazing on the low bushes and 
coarse lawns. Each window in 
the house glowed like a jewel, 
but — mark the wonder — when 
I gazed over the country there 
was no view to be seen, but only 
a slowly creeping darkness. 

'Twas an eerie sight, and 
beautiful beyond telling. It 
awed me, and yet filled me 
with a great desire to see it to 
the full. So I did not enter 
the house, but turned my steps 
round by the back to gain the 
higher ground, for the manse 
was built on a slope. I loitered 
past the side window, and 



DA UGH 7 ER OF HEROD/ A S. 169 

gained the place I had chosen ; 
but I did not bide long, for 
soon the show was gone, and 
only a chill autumn dusk left 
behind. So I made to enter 
the house, when I noticed a 
light as of firelight dancing in 
the back window. Now, I had 
never been in that room before, 
so what must I do in my idle 
curiosity but go peeping there. 
The room was wide and un- 
furnished, with a fire blazing 
on the hearth. But what held 
me amazed were the figures on 
the floor. Anne, with her skirts 
kilted, stood erect and agile as 
if about to dance. The girl 
Eff sat by the fireplace, hum- 
ming some light measure. The 
ruddy light bathed the floor 



1 7° . SIR QUIXOTE. 

and walls and made all distinct 
as noonday. 

'Twas as I had guessed. In 
a trice her feet began to move, 
and soon she was in the middle 
of the first dance I had taught 
her, while la petite Eff sang the 
tune in her clear, low voice. I 
have seen many dancers, great 
ladies and country dames, vil- 
lage lasses and burgher wives, 
gypsies and wantons, but, by 
my honor, I never saw one 
dance like Anne. Her body 
moved as if by one impulse 
with her feet. Now she would 
bend like a willow, and now 
whirl like the leaves of the 
wood in an autumn gale. She 
was dressed, as was her wont, 
in sober brown, but sackcloth 



DA UGH TER OF HEROD I A S. 171 

could not have concealed the 
grace of her form. The fire- 
light danced and leaped in her 
hair, for her face was turned 
from me ; and 'twas fine to see 
the snow of her neck islanded 
among the waves of brown 
tresses. With a sudden swift 
dart she turned her face to the 
window, and had I not been 
well screened by the shadows, 
I fear I should have been ob- 
served. But such a sight as 
her face I never hope to see 
again. The solemnity was 
gone, and 'twas all radiant with 
youth and life. Her eyes 
shone like twin stars, the even 
brown of her cheeks was 
flushed with firelight, and her 
throat and bosom heaved with 



17 2 SI J? QUIXOTE. 

the excitement of the dance. 
Then she stopped exhausted, 
smiled on Eff, who sat like a 
cinder-witch all the while, and 
smoothed the hair from her 
brow. 

" Have I done it well ? " she 
asked. 

' "As weel as he did it him- 
selV the child answered. " Eh, 
but you twae would make a 
bonny pair." 

I turned away abruptly and 
crept back to the garden path, 
my heart sinking within me, 
and a feeling of guilt in my 
soul. I was angry at myself 
for eavesdropping, angry and 
ashamed. But a great dread 
came on me as I thought of 
the girl, this firebrand, who had 



DA UGH TER OF HER ODIA S. 1 7 3 

been trusted to my keeping. 
Lackaday for the peace of 
mind of a man who has to see 
to a maid who could dance in 
this fashion, with her father 
and lover in the cold hills ! 
And always I called to mind 
that I had been her teacher, 
and that my lessons, begun as 
a harmless sport to pass the 
time, were like to breed an 
overmastering passion. Mon 
Dieu ! I was like the man in 
the Eastern tale who had raised 
a spirit which he was powerless 
to control. 

And just then, as if to point 
my meditations, I heard the 
cry of a plover from the moor 
behind, and a plaff of the chill 
night-wind blew in my face. 




CHAPTER VIII. 

HOW I SET THE SIGNAL. 

HEN I set out to write 
this history in the 
EngHsh tongue, that 
none of my own house might 
read it, I did not know the hard 
task that lay before me. For if 
I were writing it in my own lan- 
guage, I could tell the niceties 
of my feelings in a way which 
is impossible for me in any 
other. And, indeed, to make 
my conduct intelligible, I should 
forthwith fall to telling each 
shade of motive and impulse 
174 



IWIV I SET THE SIGNAL. 175 

which came to harass my mind. 
But I am little skilled in this 
work, so I must needs recount 
only the landmarks of my life, 
or I should never reach the end. 
I slept ill that night, and at 
earliest daylight was awake and 
dressing. The full gravity of 
the case was open to me now, 
and you may guess that my 
mind was no easy one. I went 
down to the sitting room, where 
the remains of the last night's 
supper still lay on the table. 
The -white morning light made 
all things clear and obtrusive, 
and I remember wishing that 
the lamp was lit again and the 
shutters closed. But in a trice 
all meditations were cast to the 
winds, for I heard the door at 



176 5/7? QUIXOTE. 

the back of the house flung vio- 
lently open and the sound of 
a man's feet on the kitchen 
floor. 

I knew that I was the only 
one awake in the house, so with 
much haste I passed out of the 
room to ascertain who the visi- 
tor might be. In the center of 
the back room stood a great 
swart man, shaking the rain 
from his clothes and hair, and 
waiting like one about to give 
some message. When he saw 
me he took a step forward, 
scanned me closely, and then 
waited my question. 

*' Who in the devil's name 
are you ? " I asked angrily, for 
I was half amazed and half 
startled by his sudden advent. 



HO W I SET THE SIGNAL. 1 7 7 

" In the Lord's name I am 
Andrew Gibb," he responded 
solemnly. 

" And what's your errand ?" 
I asked further. 

" Bide a wee and you'll hear. 
You'll be the foreigner whae 
stops at the manse the noo ? " 

"Go on," I said shortly. 

"Thae twae sants, Maister 
Lambert and Maister Semple, 
'ill ha'e made some kind o' cov- 
enant wi' you ? At ony rate, 
hear my news and dae your 
best. Their hidy-hole at the 
held o' the Stark Water's been 
betrayed, and unless they get 
warning it '11 be little you'll 
hear mair o' them. I've aye 
been their freend, so I cam' 
here to do my pairt by them." 



178 SIR QUIXOTE. 

" Are you one of the hill- 
men r 

" Na, na ! God forbid ! I'm a 
douce, quiet-leevin' man, and 
I'd see the Kirk rummle aboot 
their lugs ere I'd stir my shanks 
frae my ain fireside. But I'm 
behauden to the minister for the 
Hfe o' my bairn, whilk is ower 
lang a story for ye to hear ; and 
to help him I would rin frae 
Maidenkirk to Berwick. So 
I've aye made it my wark to 
pick up ony word o' scaith that 
was comin' to him, and that's 
why I'm here the day. Ye've 
heard my news richt, ye're 
shure ? " 

"I've heard your news. Will 
you take any food before you 
leave ? " 



HOW I SET THE SIGXAL. 179 

" Na ; I maun be off to be 
back ill time for the kye," 

" Well, good-day to you, An- 
drew Gibb," I said, and in a 
minute the man was gone. 

Now, here I must tell what 
I omitted to tell in a former 
place. — that when the exiles 
took to the hills they bade me, 
if I heard any word of danger 
to their hiding-place, to go by 
a certain path, which they 
pointed out, to a certain place, 
and there overturn a little cairn 
of stones. This was to be a 
signal to them for instant move- 
ment. I knew nothing of the 
place of their retreat, and for 
this reason could swear on my 
oath with an easy conscience ; 
but this scrap of enlightenment 



l8o SIR QUIXOTE. 

I had, a scrap of momentous 
import for both life and death. 
I turned back to the parlor 
in a fine confusion of mind. By 
some means or other the task 
which was now before me had 
come to seem singularly disa- 
greeable. The thought of my 
entertainers — I am ashamed to 
write it — was a bitter thought. 
I had acquired a reasonless 
dislike to them. What cause 
had they, I asked, to be crouch- 
ing in hill-caves and first getting 
honest gentlemen into delicate 
and difificult positions, and then 
troubling them with dangerous 
errands. Then there was the 
constant vision of the maid to 
vex me. This was the sorest 
point of all. For, though I 



HOW I SET THE SIGNAL. iSl 

blush to own it, the sight of her 
was not altogether unpleasing 
to me ; nay, to put it positively, 
I had come almost to feel an 
affection for her. She was so 
white and red and golden, all 
light and gravity, with the 
shape, of a princess, the mien 
of a goddess, and, for all I knew 
the heart of a dancing-girl. 
She carried with her the air of 
comfort and gayety, and the 
very thought of her made me 
shrink from the dark moors and 
ill-boding errand as from the 
leprosy. 

There is in every man a latent 
will, apart altogether from that 
which he uses in common life, 
which is apt at times to assert 
itself when he least expects it. 



1 82 SIR QUIXOTE. 

Such was my honor, for lo ! I 
found myself compelled by an 
inexorable force to set about 
the performance of my duty. 
I take no credit for it, since 
I was only half willing, my 
grosser inclination being all 
against it. But something 
bade me do it, calling me pol- 
troon, coward, traitor, if I re- 
fused ; so ere I left the kitchen 
I had come to a fixed decision. 

To my wonder, at the stair- 
case foot I met Anne, dressed, 
but with her hair all in disorder. 
I stood booted and cloaked and 
equipped for the journey, and 
at the sight of me her face filled 
with surprise. 

" Where away so early, 
John ?" says she. 



HOW I SET THE SIGNAL. 183 

" Where away so early, Mis- 
tress Anne?" said I. 

" Ah, I slept ill, and came 
down to get the morning air." 
I noted that her eyes were dull 
and restless, and I do believe 
that the poor maid had had a 
sorry night of it. A sharp 
fear at my heart told me the 
cause. 

"Anne," I said sullenly, "I 
am going on a hard errand, and 
I entreat you to keep out of 
harm's way till I return." 

"And what is your errand, 
pray? " she asked. 

" Nothing less than to save 
the lives of your father and 
your lover. I have had word 
from a secret source of a great 
danger which overhangs them, 



1 84 SIR QUIXOTE. 

and by God's help I would re- 
move it." 

At my word a light, half 
angry and half pathetic, came 
to her eyes. It passed like a 
sungleam, and in its place was 
left an expression of cold dis- 
taste. 

"Then God prosper you," 
she said, in a formal tone, and 
with a whisk of her skirts she 
was gone. 

I strode out into the open 
with my heart the battlefield 
of a myriad contending pas- 
sions. 

I reached the hill, over- 
turned the cairn, and set out 
on my homeward way, hardly 
giving but one thought to the 
purport of my errand or the 



HOW I SET THE SIGNAL. 185 

two fugitives whom it was my 
mission to save, so filled was 
my mind with my own trouble. 
The road home was long and 
arduous; and more, I had to 
creep often like an adder lest I 
should be spied and traced by 
some chance dragoon. The 
weather was dull and cold, and 
a slight snow, the first token 
of winter, sprinkled the moor. 
The heather was wet, the long 
rushes dripped and shivered, 
and in the little trenches the 
peat-water lay black as ink. A 
smell of damp hung over all 
things, an odor of rotten- leaves 
and soaked earth. The heavy 
mist rolled in volumes close to 
the ground and choked me as I 
bent low. Every little while I 



1 86 SIR QUIXOTE. 

stumbled into a bog, and foully 
bedaubed my clothes. I think 
that I must have strayed a 
little from the straight path, 
for I took near twice as long to 
return as to go. A swollen 
stream delayed me, for I had 
to traverse its bank for a mile 
ere I could cross. 

In truth, I cannot put down 
on paper my full loathing of 
the place. I had hated the 
moors on my first day's jour- 
ney, but now I hated them 
with a tenfold hatred. For 
each whiff of sodden air, each 
spit of chill rain brought back 
to my mind all the difificulty of 
my present state. Then I had 
always the vision of Anne sit- 
ting at home by the fire, warm, 



I/O IV I SET THE SIGNAL. 187 

clean, and dainty, the very 
counter of the foul morasses 
in which I labored, and where 
the men I had striven to rescue 
were thought to lie hidden. 
My loathing was so great that 
I could scarce find it in my 
heart to travel the weary miles 
to the manse, every step being 
taken solely on the fear of re- 
maining behind. To make it 
worse, there would come to 
vex me old airs of France, airs 
of childhood and my adven- 
turous youth, fraught for me 
with memories of gay nights 
and brave friends. I own that 
I could have wept to think of 
them and find myself all the 
while in this inhospitable 
desert. 



1 88 SIR QUIXOTE. 

'Tvvould be near mid-day, I 
think, when I came to the 
manse door, glad that my jour- 
ney was ended. Anne let me 
in, and in a moment all was 
changed. The fire crackled in 
the room, and the light danced 
on the great volumes on the 
shelves. The gray winter was 
shut out and a tranquil summer 
reigned within. Anne, like a 
Lent lily, so fair was she, sat 
sewing by the hearth. 

" You are returned," she said 
coldly. 

"■ I am returned," I said 
severely, for her callousness to 
the danger of her father was 
awful to witness, though in my 
heart of hearts I could not have 
wished it otherwise. As she 



HOJV I SET THE SIG.VAL. 189 

sat there, with her white arms 
moving athwart her lap, and 
her hair tossed over her shoul- 
ders, I could have clasped her 
to my heart. Nay, I had 
almost done so, had I not 
gripped my chair, and sat with 
pale face and dazed eyes till 
the fit had passed. I have told 
you ere now how my feelings 
toward Anne had changed 
from interest to something not 
unlike a passionate love. It 
had been a thing of secret 
growth, and I scarcely knew it 
till I found myself in the midst 
of it. I tried to smother it 
hourly, when my better nature 
was in the ascendant, and hourly 
I was overthrown in the contest 
I fought against terrible odds. 



190 SIR QUIXOTE. 

'Twas not hard to see from her 
longing eyes and timorous con- 
duct that to her I was the 
greater half of the world. I 
had but to call to her and she 
would come. And yet — God 
knows how I stifled that cry. 

At length I rose and strode 
out into the garden to cool my 
burning head. The sleet was 
even grateful to me, and I 
bared my brow till hair and 
skin were wet with the rain. 
Down by the rows of birch 
trees I walked, past the rough 
ground where the pot-herbs 
were grown, till I came to the 
shady green lawn. Up and 
down it I passed, striving hard 
with my honor and my love, 
fighting that battle which all 



HOW I SET THE SIGNAL. 191 

must fight some time or other 
in their Hves and be victorious 
or vanquished forever. 

Suddenly, to my wonder, I 
saw a face looking at me from 
beneath a tuft of elderberry. 

I drew back, looked again, 
and at the second glance I 
recognized it. 'Twas the face 
of Master Henry Temple of 
Clachlands — and the hills. 

'Twas liker the face of a wild 
goat than a man. The thin 
features stood out so strongly 
that all the rest seemed to fall 
back from them. The long, 
ragged growth of hair on lip 
and chin, and the dirt on his 
cheeks, made him unlike my 
friend of the past. But the 
memorable change was in his 



192 SIR QUIXOTE. 

eyes, which glowed large and 
lustrous, Avith the whites greatly 
extended, and all tinged with a 
yellow hue. Fear and priva- 
tion had done their work, and 
before me stood their finished 
product. 

" Good Heavens, Henry ! 
What brings you here, and 
how have you fared ? " 

He stared at me without 
replying, which I noted as 
curious. 

"Where is Anne?" he asked 
huskily. 

" She is in the house, well 
and unscathed. Shall I call 
her to you ? " 

" Nay, for God's sake, nay ! I 
am no pretty sight for a young 
maid. You say she is well ?" 



HO IV I SET THE SIGNAL. 193 

" Ay, very well. But how is 
the minister ?" 

" Alas, he is all but gone. 
The chill has entered his bones, 
and even now he may be pass- 
ing. The child will soon be an 
orphan." 

" And you ? " 

" Oh, I am no worse than the 
others on whom the Lord's 
hand is laid. There is a ring- 
ing in my head and a pain at 
my heart, but I am still hale 
and fit to testify to the truth. 
Oh, man, 'twill ill befa' those in 
the day of judgment who eat 
the bread of idleness and dwell 
in peace in thae weary times." 

" Come into the house ; or 
nay, I will fetch you food and 
clothing." 



194 SIR QUIXOTE. 

" Nay, bring nought for me. 
I would rather live in rags and 
sup on a crust than be habited 
in purple and fare sumptuously. 
I ask ye but one thing : let the 
maid walk in the garden that I 
may see her. And, oh, man ! I 
thank ye for your kindness to 
me and mine. I pray the Lord 
ilka night to think on ye here." 

I could not trust myself to 
speak. 

"I will do as you wish," I 
said, and without another word 
set off sharply for the house. 

I entered the sitting room 
wearily, and flung myself on a 
chair. Anne sat sewing as be- 
fore. She started as I entered, 
and I saw the color rise to her 
cheeks and brow. 



HOW I SET THE SIGA'AL. 195 

"You are pale, my dear," I 
said; "the day is none so bad, 
and 'twould do you no ill to 
walk round the garden to the 
gate. I have just been there, 
and, would you believe it, the 
grass is still wondrous green." 

She rose demurely and obedi- 
ently as if my word were the 
law of her life. 

" Pray bring me a sprig of 
ivy from the gate-side," I 
cried after her, laughing, " to 
show me that you have been 
there," 

I sat and kicked my heels till 
her return in a miserable state 
of impatience. I could not 
have refused to let the man 
see his own betrothed, but God 
only knew what desperate act 



196 SIR QUIXOTE. 

he might do. He might spring 
out and clasp her in his arms ; 
she, I knew, had not a shred of 
affection left for him ; she 
would be cold and resentful ; 
he would suspect, and then — 
what an end there might be to 
it all ! I longed to hear the 
sound of her returning foot- 
steps. 

She came in soon, and sat 
down in her wonted chair by 
the fire. 

"There's your ivy, John," 
said she ; " 'tis raw and chilly in 
the garden, and I love the fire- 
side better." 

'"TisAvell," I thought, "she 
has not seen Master Semple." 
Now I could not suffer him to 
depart without meeting him 



HOW I SET THE SIGNAL. 197 

again, partly out of pity for the 
man, partly to assure my own 
mind that no harm would come 
of it. So I feigned an errand 
and went out. 

I found him, as I guessed, 
still in the elder-bush, a tenfold 
stranger sight than before. His 
eyes burned uncannily. His 
thin cheeks seemed almost 
transparent with the tension of 
the bones, and he chewed his 
lips unceasingly. At the sight 
of me he came out and stood 
before me, as wild a figure as I 
ever hope to see — clothes in 
tatters, hair unkempt, and skin 
all foul with the dirt of the 
moors. His back was bowed; 
and his knees seemed to have 
lost all strength, for they 



198 SIR QUIXOTE. 

tottered against one another. 
I prayed that his sufferings 
migh not have turned him 
mad. 

At the first word he spake I 
was convinced of it. 

" I have seen her, I have seen 
her!" he cried. "She is more 
fair than a fountain of gardens, 
a well of living waters, and 
streams from Lebanon. Oh, I 
have dreamed of her by night 
among the hills, and seen her 
face close to me and tried to 
catch it, but 'twas gone. Oh, 
man, John, get down on your 
knees, and pray to God to make 
you worthy to have the charge 
of such a treasure. Had the 
Lord not foreordained that she 
should me mine, I should ne'er 



HOW I SET THE SIGNAL. 199 

have lifted up my eyes to her, 
for who am I ? " 

" For God's sake, man," I 
broke in, " tell me where you 
are going, and be about it quick, 
for you may be in instant 
danger." 

"Ay," says he, " you are right. 
I must be gone. I have seen 
enough. I maun away to the 
deserts and caves of the rocks, 
and it may be lang, lang ere I 
come back. But my love winna 
forget me. Na, na ; the Lord 
hath appointed unto me that I 
shall sit at his right hand on 
the last, the great day, and she 
shall be by my side. For oh, 
she is the only one of her 
mother; she is the choice one 
of her that bare her ; the daugh- 



2 CO S//? QUIXOTE. 

ters saw her and blessed her ; 
yea, the queens and concubines, 
and they praised her." And 
with some hke gibberish from 
the Scriptures he disappeared 
through the bushes, and next 
minute I saw him running along 
the moor toward the hills. 

These were no love-sick rav- 
ings, but the wild cries of a 
madman, one whose reason had 
gone forever. I walked back 
slowly to the house. It seemed 
almost profane to think of 
Anne, so wholesome and sane, 
in the same thought as this foul 
idiot ; and yet this man had 
been once as whole in mind and 
body as myself ; he had suffered 
in a valiant cause ; and I was 
bound to him by the strongest 



HOiV I SET THE SIGNAL. 201 

of all bonds — my plighted 
word. I groaned inwardly as I 
shut the house-door behind me 
and entered into the arena of 
my struggles. 




CHAPTER IX. 

I COMMUNE WITH MYSELF. 

f.WAS late afternoon 
when I re-entered, and 
ere supper was past 
'twas time to retire for the 
night. The tension of these 
hours I still look back on as 
something altogether dreadful. 
Anne was quiet and gentle, un- 
conscious of what had hap- 
pened, yet with the fire of pas- 
sion, I knew too well, burning 
in her heart. I was ill, rest- 
less, and abrupt, scarce able to 
speak lest I should betray my 



SELF-COMMUNINGS. 203 

thoughts and show the war that 
raged in my breast. 

I made some excuse for retir- 
ing early, bidding her good- 
night with as nonchalant an air 
as I could muster. The door 
of my bedroom I locked be- 
hind me, and I was alone in the 
darkened room to fight out my 
battles with myself. 

I ask you if you can conceive 
any gentleman and man of 
honor in a more hazardous 
case. Whenever I tried to 
think on it, a mist came over 
my brain, and I could get little 
but unmeaning fantasies. I 
must either go or stay. So 
much was clear. 

If I stayed — well, 'twas the 
Devil's own work that was cut 



204 SIR QUIXOTE. 

for me. There was no sign of 
the violence of the persecution 
abating. It might be many 
months, nay years, before the 
minister and Master Semple 
might return. If they came 
back no more, and I had sure 
tidings of their death, then 
indeed I might marry Anne. 
But 'twas so hazardous an un- 
certainty that I rejected it at 
once. No man could dwell 
with one whom he loved heart 
and soul so long a time on such 
uncertain chances and yet keep 
his honor. Had the maid been 
dull and passive, or had I been 
sluggish in blood, then there 
might have been hope. But 
Ave were both quick as the 
summer's lightning. 



SELF-COMMUNINGS. 205 

If they came back, was not 
the fate of the girl more hard 
than words could tell ? The 
minister in all likelihood would 
already have gone the way of 
all the earth ; and she, poor 
lass, would be left to the care 
of a madman for whom she had 
no spark of liking. I pictured 
her melancholy future. Her 
pure body subject to the em- 
braces of a loathsome fanatic, 
her delicate love of the joys of 
life all subdued to his harsh 
creed. Oh, God ! I swore that 
I could not endure it. Her face, 
so rounded and lovely, would 
grow pinched and white, her 
eyes would lose all their luster, 
her hair would not cluster lov- 
ingly about her neck, her lithe 



2o6 SIR QUIXOTE. 

grace would be gone, her foot- 
steps would be heavy and sad. 
He would rave his unmeaning- 
gibberish in her ears, would ill- 
treat her, it might be ; in any 
case would be a perpetual sor- 
row to her heart. "Oh, Anne," I 
cried, " though I be damned for 
it, I will save you from this ! " 

If I left the place at once and 
forever, then indeed my honor 
would be kept, but yet not all ; 
for my plighted word — where 
would it be ? I had sworn that 
come what may I should stand 
by the maid and protect her 
against what evil might come to 
the house. Now I was think- 
ing of fleeing from my post like 
a coward, and all because the 
girl's eyes were too bright for 



SELF- CO MM UNINGS. 207 

my weak resolution. When 
her lover returned, if he ever 
came, what story would she 
have to tell ? This, without a 
doubt : " The man whom you 
left has gone, fled like a thief 
in the night, for what reason I 
know not." For though I knew 
well that she would divine the 
real cause of my action, I could 
not suppose that she would tell 
it, for thereby she would cast 
grave suspicion upon herself. 
So there would I be, a perjured 
traitor, a false friend in the eyes 
of those who had trusted me. 

But more, the times were vio- 
lent, Clachlands and its soldiery 
were nor far off, and once they 
learned that the girl was unpro- 
tected no man knew what evil 



2o8 SIA' QUIXOTE. 

might follow. You may imagine 
how bitter this thought was to 
me, the thought of leaving my 
love in the midst of terrible dan- 
gers. Nay, more ; a selfish con- 
sideration weighed not a little 
with me. The winter had all but 
come ; the storms of this black 
land I dreaded like one born 
and bred in the South ; I knew 
nothing of my future course ; I 
was poor, bare, and friendless. 
The manse was a haven of shel- 
ter. Without it I should be even 
as the two exiles in the hills. 
The cold was hard to endure ; 
I dearly loved warmth and com- 
fort ; the moors were as fearful 
to me as the deserts of Mus- 
covy. 

One course remained. Anne 



SELF- COMM UNINGS. 209 

had money; this much I knew. 
She loved me, and would obey 
my will in all things ; of this I 
was certain. What hindered me 
to take her to France, the land 
of mirth and all pleasant things, 
and leave the North and its wild 
folk behind forever ? With 
money we could travel expedi- 
tiously. Once in my own land 
perchance I might find some 
way to repair my fortunes, for 
a fair wife is a wonderous incen- 
tive. There beneath soft skies, 
in the mellow sunshine, among 
a cheerful people, she would 
find the life which she loved 
best. What deterred me? 
Nothing but a meaningless vow 
and some antiquated scruples. 
But I would be really keeping 



210 SIR QUIXOTE. 

my word, I reasoned casuisti- 
cally with myself, for I had 
sworn to take care of Anne, 
and what way so good as to 
take her to my own land where 
she would be far from the reach 
of fanatic or dragoon? And 
this was my serious thought, 
comprenez bieu ! I set it down 
as a sign of the state to which 
I had come, that I was con- 
vinced by my own quibbling. 
I pictured to myself what I 
should do. I would find her 
at breakfast in the morning. 
" Anne," I would say, " I love 
you dearly ; may I think that 
you love me likewise?" I 
could fancy her eager, passion- 
ate reply, and then I 

almost felt the breath of her 



SEL F- COMM UNINGS. 2 1 1 

kisses on my cheek and the 
touch of her soft arms on my 
neck. 

Some impulse led me to open 
the casement and look forth 
into the windy, inscrutable 
night: A thin rain distilled 
on the earth, and the coolness 
was refreshing to my hot face. 
The garden was black, and the 
bushes were marked by an 
increased depth of darkness. 
But on the grass to the left I 
saw a long shaft of light, the 
reflection from some lit win- 
dow of the house. I passed 
rapidly in thought over the 
various rooms there, and with 
a start came to an end. 
Without a doubt 'twas Anne's 
sleeping room. What did the 



212 SIR QUIXOTE. 

lass with a light, for 'twas 
near midnight? I did not 
hesitate about the cause, and 
'twas one which inflamed my 
love an hundredfold. She 
was sleepless, love-sick maybe 
(such is the vanity of man). 
Maybe even now my name 
was the one on her lips, and 
my image the foremost in her 
mind. My finger-tips tingled, 
as the blood surged into 
them ; and I am not ashamed 
to say that my eyes were 
not tearless. Could I ever 
leave my love for some tawdry 
honor ? Mille tonneres ! the 
thing was not to be dreamed 
of. I blamed myself for 
having once admitted the 
thought. 



SELF-COMMUNINGS. 213 

My decision was taken, and, 
as was always my way, I felt 
somewhat easier. I was weary, 
so I cast myself down upon the 
bed without undressing, and 
fell into a profound sleep. 

How long I slept I cannot 
tell, but in that brief period of 
unconsciousness I seemed to 
be living ages. I saw my past 
life all inverted as 'twere ; for 
my first sight was the horror of 
the moors, Ouentin Kennedy, 
and the quarrel and the black 
desolation which I had under- 
gone. I went through it all 
again, vividly, acutely. Then 
it passed, and I had my man- 
hood in France before my eyes. 
And curiously enough, 'twas 
not alone, but confused with 



214 SIR QUIXOTE. 

my childhood and youth. I 
was an experienced man of the 
world, versed in warfare and 
love, taverns and brawls, and 
yet not one whit jaded, but 
fresh and hopeful and boylike. 
'Twas a very pleasing feeling. 
I was master of myself. I had 
all my self-respect. I was a 
man of unblemished honor, 
undoubted valor. Then by 
an odd trick of memory all 
kinds of associations became 
linked with it. The old sights 
and sounds of Rohaine : cocks 
crowing in the morning ; the 
smell of hay and almond- 
blossom, roses and summer 
lilies ; the sight of green leaves, 
of the fish leaping in the river; 
the plash of the boat's oars 



SELF- CO MM UNINGS. 2 1 5 

among- the water-weeds — all 
the sensations of childhood 
came back with extraordinary 
clarity. I heard my mother's 
grave, tender speech bidding 
us children back from play, or 
soothing one when he hurt him- 
self. I could almost believe 
that my father's strong voice 
was ringing in my ear, when he 
would tell stories of the chase 
and battle, or sing ballads of 
long ago, or bid us go to the 
devil if we pleased, but go like 
gentlemen. 'Twas a piece of 
sound philosophy, and often 
had it been before me in Paris, 
when I shrank from nothing 
save where my honor as a 
gentleman was threatened. In 
that dream the old saying came 



2i6 SIR QUIXOTE. 

on me with curious force. 1 
felt it to be a fine motto for 
life, and I was exulting in my 
heart that 'twas mine, and that 
I had never stained the fair 
fame of my house. \ 

Suddenly, with a start I 
seemed to wake to the con- 
sciousness that 'twas mine no 
more. Still dreaming, I was 
aware that I had deceived a 
lover, and stolen his mistress 
and made her my bride. I 
have never felt such acute 
anguish as I did in that sleep 
when the thought came upon 
me. I felt nothing more of 
pride. All things had left me. 
My self-respect was gone like 
a ragged cloak. All the old, 
dear life was shut out from me 



SELF. COMMUNINGS. 2 1 7 

by a huge barrier. Comfort- 
able, rich, loving, and beloved, 
I was yet in the very jaws of 
Hell. I felt myself biting out 
my tongue in my despair. My 
brain was on fire with sheer 
and awful regret. I cursed the 
day when I had been tempted 
and fallen. 

And then, even while I 
dreamed, another sight came 
to my eyes — the face of a lady, 
young, noble, with eyes like 
the Blessed Mother. In my 
youth I had laid my life at the 
feet of a girl, and I was in 
hopes of making her my wife. 
But Cecilia was too fair for this 
earth, and I scarcely dared to 
look upon her she seemed so 
saint-like. When she died in 



2i8 SIR QUIXOTE. 

the Forest of Arnay, killed by 
a fall from her horse, 'twas I 
who carried her to her home, 
and since that day her face was 
never far distant from my mem- 
ory. I cherished the image 
as my dearest possession, and 
oftentimes when I would have 
embarked upon some madness 
I refrained, fearing the reproof 
of those grave eyes. But now 
this was all gone. My earthy 
passion had driven out my old 
love ; all memories were rapt 
from me save that of the sordid 
present. 

The very violence of my feel- 
ing awoke me, and I found 
myself sitting up in bed with 
a mouthful of blood. Sure 
enough, I had gnawed my 



SELF- CO MM UNINGS. 219- 

tongue till a red froth was over 
my lips. My heart was beat- 
ing like a windmill in a high 
gale, and a deadly sickness of 
mind oppressed me. 'Twas 
some minutes before I could 
think; and then — oh, joy! the 
relief! I had not yet taken 
the step irremediable. The 
revulsion, the sudden ecstasy 
drove in a trice my former 
resolution into thinnest air. 

I looked out of the window. 
'Twas dawn, misty and wet. 
Thank God, I was still in the 
land of the living, still free to 
make my life. The tangible 
room, half lit by morning, gave 
me a promise of reality after 
the pageant of the dream. My 
path was clear before me, clear 



2 20 ^•/i? QUIXOTE. 

and straight as an arrow ; and 
yet even now I felt a dread of 
my passion overcoming my re- 
solve, and was in a great haste 
to have done with it all. My 
scruples about my course were 
all gone. I would be breaking 
my oath, 'twas true, in leaving 
the maid, but keeping it in the 
better way. The thought of 
the dangers to which she would 
be exposed stabbed me like a 
dart. It had almost overcome 
me. " But honor is more than 
life or love," I said, as I set my 
teeth with stern purpose. 

Yet, though all my soul was 
steeled into resolution, there 
was no ray of hope in my heart 
— nothing but a dead, bleak 
outlook, a land of moors and 



SELF- COMMUNINGS. 2 2 1 

rain, an empty purse and an 
aimless journey. 

I had come to the house a 
beggar scarce two months be- 
fore. I must now go as I had 
come, not free and careless as 
then, but bursting shackles of 
triple brass. My old ragged 
garments, which I had dis- 
carded on the day after my 
arrival, lay on a chair, neatly 
folded by Anne's deft hand. It 
behooved me to take no more 
away than that which I had 
brought, so I must needs clothe 
myself in these poor remnants 
of finery, thin and mud-stained, 
and filled with many rents. 




CHAPTER X. 

OF MY DEPARTURE. 

PASSED tlirough the 
kitchen out to the 
stable, marking as I 
went that the breakfast was 
ready laid in the sitting room. 
There I saddled Saladin, grown 
sleek by fat living, and rolling 
his great eyes at me wonder- 
ingly. I tested the joinings, 
buckled the girth tight, and led 
him round to the front of the 
house, where I tethered him to 
a tree and entered the door. 

A savory smell of hot meats 
came from the room and a 



OF MY DEPAR TURE. 223 

bright wood fire drove away 
the grayness of the morning. 
Anne stood by the table, sHcing 
a loaf and looking ever and 
anon to the entrance. Her 
face was pale as if with sleep- 
lessness and weeping. Her hair 
was not so daintily arranged 
as was her wont. It seemed 
almost as if she had augured 
the future. A strange catch — 
coming as such songs do from 
nowhere and meaning nothing 
— ran constantly in my head. 
'Twas one of Philippe Des- 
portes', that very song which 
the Duke de Guise sang just 
before his death. So, as I 
entered, I found myself hum- 
ming half unwittingly: 

" Nous verrons, bergere Rosette, 
Qui premier s'en repentira." 



2 24 SIR QUIXOTE. 

Anne looked up as if startled 
at my coming, and when she 
saw my dress glanced fearfully 
at my face. It must have told 
her some tale, for a red flush 
mounted to her brow and abode 
there. 

I picked up a loaf from the 
table. 'Twas my one sacrifice 
to the gods of hospitality. 
'Twould serve, I thought, for 
the first stage in my journey. 

Anne looked up at me with a 
kind of confused wonder. She 
laughed, but there was little 
mirth in her laughter. 

" Why, what would you do 
with the loaf ? " said she. " Do 
you seek to visit the widows and 
fatherless in their affliction?" 

" Nay," said I gravely. " I 



OF MY DEPARTURE. 225 

would but keep myself un- 
spotted from the world." 

All merriment died out of her 
face. 

"And what would you do?" 
she stammered. 

" The time has come for me 
to leave, Mistress Anne. My 
horse is saddled at the door. I 
have been here long enough ; 
ay, and too long. I thank you 
with all my heart for your 
kindness, and I would seek to 
repay it by ridding you of my 
company." 

I fear I spoke harshly, but 
'twas to hide my emotion, which 
bade fair to overpower me and 
ruin all. 

" Oh, and why will you go ? " 
she cried. 



226 SIR QUIXOTE. 

" Farewell, Anne," I said, 
looking at her fixedly, and I saw 
that she divined the reason. 

I turned on my heel, and 
went out from the room. 

" Oh, my love," she cried 
passionately, " stay with me ; 
stay, oh, stay ! " 

Her voice rang in my ear 
with honeyed sweetness, like 
that of the Sirens to Ulysses of 
old. 

*' Stay ! " she cried, as I flung 
open the house-door. 

I turned me round for one 
last look at her whom I loved 
better than life. She stood at 
the entrance to the room, with 
her arms outstretched and her 
white bosom heaving. Her 
eyes were filled with an utter- 



OF M Y DEPAR TURK. 227 

able longing, which a man may- 
see but once in his life — and 
well for him if he never sees it. 
Her lips were parted as if to 
call me back once more. But 
no word came ; her presence 
was more powerful than any 
cry. 

I turned to the weather. A 
gray sky, a driving mist, and a 
chill piercing blast. The con- 
trast was almost more than my 
resolution. An irresistible im- 
pulse seized me to fly to her 
arms, to enter the bright room 
again with her, and sell myself, 
body and soul, to the lady of 
my heart. 

My foot trembled to the step 
backward, my arms all but felt 
her weight, when that blind 



2 28 SIR QUIXOTE. 

Fate which orders the ways of 
men intervened. Against my 
incHnation and desire, bitterly, 
unwilHng, I strode to my horse 
and flung myself on his back. 
I dared not look behind, but 
struck spurs into Saladin and 
rode out among the trees. 

A fierce north wind met me 
in the teeth, and piercing 
through my tatters, sent a 
shiver to my very heart. 

I cannot recall my thoughts 
during that ride : I seem not to 
have thought at all. All I know 
is that in about an hour there 
came into my mind, as from 
a voice, the words : " Recreant ! 
Fool ! " and I turned back. 

THE END. 



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